Q: What was the elephant’s favourite sport?

It is possibly time to do a slightly,in a secular sense of the word, preachy blog post after so many light-hearted ones over the past wee while. I make no apologies for that though since I feel that the following is an important and often less well-known issue. To make up for the seriousness I’ll try to keep it short and you can have the answer to the question in the title at the end.

Loneliness can kill.

It eats away at people, can rob them of confidence and it prevents its victims from moving on with their lives and expressing their potential.

People who have been subject to some sort of socially stigmatised problem like homelessness, long term unemployment or mental health problems often have to deal with loneliness before they can start to work on their self esteem and move into a more positive state of mind which helps them to move on with their lives and hope to become happy and productive members of society.

This is why Souper Saturday focuses on creating a positive, informal and non-judgemental social environment.

We encourage chat and we encourage the playing of board games; our volunteers even try to take part ourselves when the workload allows it, and if guests want to they can hang out at the hatch and blether to us there as we work.

We like to encourage smiles just as much as we like to fill bellies and a Souper Saturday that has less enjoyable food but good laughter is considered more of a success than one where people eat excellent food in a sullen atmosphere.

Take time to offer people a smile and a few words. Maybe even tell them a rubbish joke — it’s difficult to overestimate the positive impact that this could have on somebody’s life!