The negative impacts of eating alone

Hi everyone, Jack here! Hope all is well.

Last week on our social media platforms we shared a very topical article. The article focused on the specific concern of eating alone among the elderly and its negative health consequences.  As we all know, eating for many of us is one of the most basic of human social interactions; sharing a meal can be a source of bonding, and an opportunity to discuss our days, whether good or bad. However, when it comes to the ageing population, they are often faced with a period of great change; for example, the likes of divorce and bereavement are common. Therefore, there is often nobody for them to share meals with, or to help them cook if they need assistance. In fact, an estimated 1 in 6 over 70s eat alone daily (Source: Huffington Post).

The truth about eating alone

What is more, many elderly individuals experience a deteriorating sense of appetite and reduced ability in their cooking skills. As a result, a lot skip meals, or replace them for junk/snack foods of poor nutritional value. In fact, over 700,000 individuals over 70 have admitted to skipping meals at least 7 or more times a week! (Source: Huffington Post).

Consequently, there is an arguable epidemic of malnutrition among the older population. Such malnutrition is accompanied by allied health problems such as brittle bones, and a weakened immune system. Worryingly, weight loss among the elderly is often taken for granted as a common feature of the ageing process; however, more commonly it could be a sign of the aforementioned malnutrition resulting from loneliness. It is thus a cause for intervention.

 Urge for action

There has been a call from the UK government to place more of an effort on stepping in and accompanying those elderly individuals who you feel may be alone and struggling to achieve a balanced meal. Moreover, Sam Dick, Director of ‘Campaign to End Loneliness’ concurs by adding that, “eating together is one of the best ways to connect, which is vital for health and wellbeing.”

How we hope to help

Taking all of the above on board, here at Cyril Flint Befrienders we are taking our own stance and aim in the coming months to run a monthly dinner club event. This provides the opportunity for some of our befriendees and their volunteer befrienders to come together and share a hot meal in a social setting. It also subsequently allows for everyone to possibly bond over similar situations, or any hobbies they may have in common.

How you can get involved

The main thing to take away from all this is that loneliness and social isolation, despite being a naturally sad occurrence in our society, can also be a killer when it comes to the older generation. The effect of both on one’s health is thought to be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Source: Cambridge University). It is important therefore that we continue to do the work we do to help combat these issues. This can only happen with sufficient funds however. If you feel you are up for a challenge, or having some time to offer, why not fund raise in some way to support the charity?

If you are interested, or have any ideas for an event you would like to hold but feel you need some support, then feel free to contact my colleague Sam (Fundraising Coordinator) at: [email protected].

Until next time, stay safe and keep an eye out for the most vulnerable in your local area,




I never thought I’d have a Best Friend again!

Loneliness is a subjective feeling, where, as an individual we do not feel we have as much social interaction or as many strong, fulfilling relationships with people as we desire. For example you can be in a busy room, full of people but still feel very lonely; You can have carers call in on you several times a day, but still feel lonely.

Here at Cyril Flint Befrienders we focus on loneliness in older people and what we can do to help. We are however, very aware that loneliness does not discriminate and indeed some of our volunteers cite their own personal loneliness as their motivation for becoming a Befriender with us.

This  Loneliness Awareness Week, we wanted to share Edna’s account of her own experience of loneliness and how she felt it crept up on her, a feeling which many of our Befriendees express:

‘Life is so strange, you go along quite happily with Family and friends and then, in a relatively short time, it all changes.

You are faced with bereavement; husband, sister and best friend and several other really good friends. Because of ill-health you are unable to go out alone and you find yourself virtually housebound. The future is bleak.

Then, one day, someone suggests that Cyril Flint Befrienders might help. This lovely young girl comes into your life, something you thought could never happen.

She has made such a difference, sharing the events of her life with me, taking me out and really caring.

I never thought that I would have another ‘Best Friend’.

Thank you Cyril Flint!’

There are many ways you can get involved in our mission to combat loneliness in older people, be that by referring a loved one or a neighbour; hosting a coffee morning or a dress down day at work to help us raise much needed funds to continue operating, or volunteering your time to become a Befriender to an older person in your community. Have a look through the opportunities on our website or pop us an email for more information!



We’re hiring an Operations Manager to cover Maternity Leave

Who we are

With over 5 million elderly people living on their own, and around two fifths (around 3.9 million) of all older people citing television as their main source of company, loneliness is an ever-present problem within our community (Campaign To End Loneliness).

Cyril Flint, an elderly pensioner living on his own in the Trafford area, was a classic example of one such individual. Having spent 23 lonely Christmas holidays on his own, since the passing of his wife, Cyril’s story not only evoked a wave of compassion within the community, but it also made us want to do something to help. Setting up an informal befriending service, designed to help prevent social isolation, seemed like the perfect solution. Since its creation, our scheme has grown throughout the Greater Manchester area. We are now a registered charity with over 100 active volunteers throughout the community.

What we do

Cyril Flint Befrienders is an established befriending service that currently covers Trafford and South Manchester areas. We rely on Volunteers to spend an hour a week to visit a person (usually in their own home) befriending a person on a regular one-to-one basis. This may be someone who lives alone who has little or no contact from friends and family with limited community support. Knowing someone is popping in once a week can make a huge difference, not just to relieve their loneliness and isolation but also to boost the older person’s self-esteem and confidence. It also gives them something to look forward to on a weekly basis

What we need

We are seeking an interim Operations Manager to cover Maternity Leave for a 12 month period. This is an exciting time to join the charity as we are expanding our workforce and starting work on an ambitious 5 year plan for expansion of the service geographically. The interim Operations Manager will help to lead the Charity through this exciting period of development. You will have oversight of operations to meet agreed goals and will develop funding and partnership opportunities to secure the Charity’s future and enhance the positive reputation of Cyril Flint Befrienders both with funding providers and on a local level.

To continue the invaluable work that we do and to be able to increase our geographical reach, we need to raise in excess of £100k each year. This involves sourcing funding from grant providers, trusts and foundations as well as fundraising initiatives and donations from individuals and corporates.

Who we’re looking for

You will be responsible for the overall operations of the charity and ensuring the quality of delivery of our service and will have:

  • Proven track record in successfully managing an operation of comparable scale or be someone wishing to build on their existing skills in this area.
  • Demonstrable experience of thinking strategically, business planning and implementation
  • Significant track record of identifying, building and maintaining stakeholder relationships, internally and externally.
  • Generating income from grants, trusts and foundations to support core costs.
  • Experience in successfully leading organisational development and change.
  • Previous experience of inspiring, managing and leading staff.
  • You will enjoy working closely with teams and Boards to develop solid structures that maximise outcomes and ensure long-term sustainability.
  • Financial acumen and knowledge of good governance is also essential.
  • Experience of volunteer recruitment and retention.

Why you should apply

This is an exciting time to join our team as we are commencing on a five year plan for development and expansion across Greater Manchester. We have a team of supportive and passionate Trustees and a small, hardworking staff team that we are looking to grow. We are all dedicated to having as great an impact as possible on lonely and isolated older people and by solving the issues of loneliness and isolation by bringing members of communities together, creating stronger and more connected communities as a result.

You will have the ability to be creative within the role, whilst being fully supported by the Board of Trustees and can gain invaluable experience of management and leading the expansion of a successful charity which is delivering a service which is sadly in high demand.

This role is for a 12 month period to cover Maternity Leave.


Competitive Salary

23 Days Annual Leave

Full time based in our office in Sale, Trafford.

Full job spec available on request.

How to apply

Please apply by sending an up to date CV and completed application form (available here) to [email protected]

Closing date: 9am Monday 8th July

Interviews: Tuesday 16th July

Are you up to the Cyril Flint Accumulator Challenge?

IT’S BACK! We’ve enjoyed huge success with our Accumulator Challenge over the past two years! We’re delight to be launching this year’s event on 1st May 2019!

How the Accumulator Challenge it works:

Each entrant is given a start-up fund: £100 to Teams and £50 to individuals.

We appreciate that organising any fundraising activity can involve some upfront costs and we don’t want you to be out of pocket! So you can use this fund to get started on your Accumulator Challenge fundraising mission!

The fundraising takes place 1st May – 31st October. We will set each team up with a Just Giving page and you can direct all fundraising, donations and sponsorship to this page. You will also be able to see how you are doing compared to the other Accumulator Challenge teams!

In November you will be invited to an awards evening! Here we will bring individual and team participants, Cyril Flint staff, befriendees and befrienders together. This will be an evening of celebration of all the fundraising that has taken place throughout the six months. It will also be an opportunity for teams to meet some of the people their fundraising will help. During this evening we will present awards for special achievements.

Awards will be presented to individuals and teams for the following:

  • Most innovative fundraising idea
  • Most funds raised
  • Best publicity piece

Support throughout

You will be supported throughout the six month challenge. We have a How-To guide full of ideas on how you can spend your start-up fund to generate more funds! From spending it on ingredients for cakes to host your own bake sales in the office, to using the funds to hire a room and entertainment and put on your own event! We have step by step guides and our Operations Manager, Alex, will be on hand throughout the six months to help you. We will also provide you with any Cyril Flint items that may help. This could include balloons, branded t-shirts, posters, pens and leaflets.

Why we do it

Andrea & Barbara, a Cyril Flint befriending match

As a charity we are dependent on donations, grants and fundraising to enable us to continue operating. We are on a mission to combat loneliness and isolation in older people across Trafford and South Manchester. We do this by providing a one to one befriending service. Cyril Flint are so fortunate that many local people approach us to become volunteer befrienders and generously give up their time to volunteer each week. Our service is totally free of charge to all older people who access it but we require funds to keep operating. These funds cover the costs to train and support our volunteers, to support our older people and to keep the charity operating and reaching more older people in need of our help.

Why we do the Accumulator Challenge

Instead of asking people to make a donation, we run the Accumulator Challenge as a fun and interactive way for people to support us. It can be a great personal challenge or act as a brilliant team-building exercise over the six months. It will all end with an evening of celebration and some special awards. The awards are to recognise those that have gone that extra mile!

Fiona & Amy, a Cyril Flint Befriending match

How you’ll make a difference

By taking part in the 2019 Accumulator Challenge you will not only be helping us by raising much needed funds, you will also be raising awareness of Cyril Flint Befrienders. You may do that via your team mates, through the people who purchase cakes at your bake sale, or those who attend any event you hold. Awareness raising is vital to us as it helps to inform more people about our service and potentially help the word spread to those older people in the community who may not have heard about us before. So please consider this when planning your fundraising, it is not all about the grand total of funds raised, but also about the number of new people who learn about our work via your efforts.

The 2018 Accumulator Challenge was great fun, with events from bee hunts and cake sales, to jarbolas, choir evenings and race nights! Teams crafted items, negotiated brilliant deals with local businesses and really exceeded our expectations. In the last two years over £10,000 has been raised by participants and we can’t wait to see what this year will be bring!

Get your pack today!

For more information or to request a free pack, contact Alex: [email protected] or call 0161 942 9465


Trowers & Hamlins Bee Hunt 2018

Escaping into a great story

Escaping into a great story…

Today World Book Day celebrates its 22nd Anniversary and has become a firm favourite in schools throughout the country. This celebration encouraged reading and sharing stories together. The day was started by its namesake charity, to try to ensure that all children had the opportunity to own their own boo. And indeed it seems to be achieving its mission!

It is also a reminder to us all about the importance of reading and the emotion it can bring. There is a special joy to reading a really good book and a great enthusiasm in recommending it to others.

I know I’m not alone in having books that hold nostalgia throughout my life to date; be that listening to the adventures of Hairy Maclairy as a small child at bed time, to the wonderful warm feeling that finishing many a Roald Dahl book can leave you with, when the good characters triumph. I also enjoyed a short spate of autobiographies of an eclectic mix of people in the public spotlight (because as a teenager you think everyone’s life must be better than your own!). I also enjoyed a competitive reading session with my adult siblings, as we raced to finish the Harry Potter collection first!

The role books can play

Books can play such an important role in our life. Educating us, helping us to relate to others, engaging us and challenging us. Reading can also present an escapism for many lonely people; a chance to escape a sad or unfulfilling reality and to be emerged in a tale, of excitement, adventure, romance or friendship. When you find a book you really enjoy you can be immersed in the story for hours. You find yourself desperately turning the pages to find out what happens next whilst not wanting a great story to come to an end! When reading, we really can find ourselves vicariously living our lives through others. It really is quite a magical and unique experience.

World Book Day

This World Book Day I would encourage you to share a story with anyone in your life whom you may think is feeling a little lonely. Share a story about you, your day, and your life or even recommend a book to them! This could offer a chance of escapism and something that will entertain and amuse them.

Could you be our new Charity Secretary?

About the role

As a registered Charity Cyril Flint Befrienders is governed by a Board of Trustees, who are responsible for making all major decisions about the charity. They decide its direction of growth and are ultimately responsible for ensuring the charity continues to act in line with its Articles of Association.

Our mission statement reads:

‘The relief of those in need by the reason of old age and/or ill health, through the provision of a befriending service in England. To promote social inclusion to those who are excluded from society because they are housebound or unable to access transport, lack social network or other reason, by the provision of:

1 A befriending and volunteering service, visiting people in their own home;

2) A befriending and volunteering service supporting people to access local community facilities;

3) Support to access information technology at home to enable greater social inclusion.’

Our Board meet bi-monthly and are looking for a dedicated volunteer to join us as Charity Secretary. You will report to the Chair of Trustees providing vital support to ensure the smooth running of the charity’s operations. Duties will include:

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the role, please email your CV to Alex  or feel free to call us on 0161 942 9465 if you wish to discuss the role further.