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Tablehood – Combating social isolation

Johanna Milbank
Written by Johanna Milbank

DOME would like to present a story about an innovative social enterprise that looks to address social isolation in Adelaide. What does social isolation have to do with being unemployed? When you lose employment you lose much of your social connectivity and this includes support networks. With the average time a mature aged job seeker is looking for work being over 3 years, maintaining your connectivity to others is vital in not only hearing about potential job opportunities but for your mental and physical health and to help you maintain your motivation. So read on ……

DOME is proud to share this story written by a co-creator and member of Tablehood, Jan Luck and provided by Test Kitchen

Hey! Who remembers the day when neighbours knew each other and helped each other? There is really not the need to ‘borrow a cup of sugar’ anymore, but what about ‘hey neighbour, can you lend me a hand with this cos I can’t manage it on my own’? How do you get to know the people in your street so you can be comfortable to call out and ask for a hand? In days gone by, neighbours would chat over the fence as they tended to their gardens, invited each other in for a cuppa and generally were more in touch with what happened in their street. Remember the little old lady who lived in the street and how the school kid would put her rubbish bins in and out for her? I am glad to say that still does happen and I am not even a little old lady (yet!) but my neighbour’s lad will do that for me at times. Lucky me! Do you recall though, stories of elderly folk who have lain un-noticed and undiscovered in their home for weeks after they died? How sad. Let this not happen to us!

What can we do about this situation then, with very little effort? A couple of altruistic and creative folk began a movement they have called ‘Tablehood’ and the movement is growing. Want to know more and be part of it? Well, the good news is, you can!

The very name Tablehood reminds us of what it might stand for. Neighbourhood and Table, as in FOOD!When I first encountered Tablehood, it piqued my curiosity as I hope I am doing for you. I asked myself, why would someone want to give me a free meal? What did they want from me? Turns out a wonderful trained chef cooked a magnificent meal for me and others in exchange for ideas. Seems a good trade-off don’t you think? Ideas were needed to promote the concept of neighbours getting together around food for social interaction, support and sharing stories.

You don’t have to be a trained chef, and you do not need to do it like others who are part of the Tablehood movement. You can do it YOURway! Let me give you some examples of what is happening and what some people are doing.

First, you might already be doing it! You might invite friends over for a BBQ or for a casual meal, but have you thought of including ‘old Mr so-and-so who lost his wife a year ago and doesn’t seem to get out much since then’? Secondly, one couple  has an open invitation for the entire street to come over on a Monday night. Now that would certainly not be MYstyle, but that is how they are ‘giving back’ to their community. If you do not want to host in your own home, one person has the use of the church hall kitchen, she obtains all the ingredients, participants pay $10 and help to prepare the meal, then other folk perhaps with mobility issues, loneliness or just new to the area are invited to join the band of ‘cooks’ for a meal. Cooking is not my favourite occupation, but cooking and eating with others seems quite companionable. Another option might be to arrange a particular night in the month where you say, ‘I am going to be at ‘this or that café or pub, why don’t you come along and join us’, for a pay as you go evening together.

So you see, there are many ways of achieving this. Some people are able to cover expenses themselves as their way of giving, others cannot be ‘out of pocket’ – either way, don’t let it stop you being part of the ‘ripple in the pond effect’ of growing this movement.

With this in mind, you are invited to come along and share a meal with the existing Tablehood members at the

Arkaba Hotel, Glen Osmond Road
on either
Saturday 24thAugust at 11.45 for 12 noon
or if a weekday suits you better,
Thursday 5thSeptemberat 11.45 for 12 noon
Cost: $15

RSVP via Facebook

Or to Matt at or 044 833 7699

This Tablehood event is supported by the Creating Better Neighbourhoods: Innovation in Ageing Challenge, funded by Office for Ageing Well, SA Health.

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Johanna Milbank

Johanna Milbank

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