Vulnerable Older People In Newcastle Can Shop, Eat And Meet Friends Thanks To Northumberland Freemasons

31st January 2022

Older people in Newcastle, living with poor health and mobility issues, will be able to meet friends, have a freshly cooked meal and do their shopping, thanks to a grant of £45,000 to the Search charity, from Northumberland Freemasons.

The ‘Buy and Bite’ project sees staff and volunteers from the charity provide their clients, most of whom are in their 80s and 90s, with door-to-door transport to their local Morrison’s supermarket where they are helped to collect and pay for their shopping. Once they have shopped, they move to a reserved area in the store café where they have lunch together before being taken home, helped into the house with their shopping and, if necessary, to put away their groceries and perishable items.

The project is used by the most vulnerable members of the community, who are usually living with poor health, and require door-to-door transport due to mobility issues or memory problems. Many of these people live alone and have no, or very limited, family support, making this service a lifeline for them. For many it is the only time they leave the house each week, and the only time they eat a freshly cooked meal.

As well as the shopping trips, which take place twice a week, the charity runs a more traditional lunch club at the Bishop’s Court sheltered housing project in West Denton. In addition to the meal, there are pleasant gardens to sit in as well as a hair dresser on the premises, which many clients take advantage of.

The grant from Northumberland Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Simon Luddington, Chief Officer at Search, said “We’re very grateful to Northumberland Freemasons for their generous grant, which will give older people in Newcastle the chance to regularly meet friends, enjoy a meal together and get the shopping done, all at the same time. It’s hugely important for people who often have complex health issues, to be able to leave their homes safely and socialise with others. For many it’s become a highlight of their week.”

Kevin Stannard, from Northumberland Freemasons, said “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Search with their wonderful lunch clubs. They allow older people in Newcastle who might otherwise be confined to their homes, to get out and about, enjoy the company of other people and get their shopping done, all safely supported by dedicated staff and volunteers.”

If you have a story, event or news item you would like to have published on the Provincial website, or social media, please get in touch with our Communications Team at