London’s iconic Borough Market turns 21 this November and to celebrate it is inviting communities from across the capital to come together in its new communal kitchen in a bid to combat the loneliness and social isolation that many people experience.
Research has shown that a lack of social connection has an effect on mortality comparable to that of smoking and twice as bad compared to the effect of obesity.1 Markets across the country create a unique space for economic development and social interaction in a society that is becoming increasingly insular. A local market brings diverse groups of people together to support traders from their local area, creating a sense of community and belonging.
On 19th November from 11am to 12:30pm Borough Market will be holding a community lunch with its charity partners and their beneficiaries as well as local clubs and groups. Charities FareShare, School Food Matters, PlanZheroes and United Saint Saviours will be bringing young, old and everyone in between together in the Market’s brand-new Market Kitchen, to celebrate 21years since its rebirth as a retail market and food destination.
Dr Glenn Mason, Psychologist says; “We live in a fast-paced society and fewer of us are now sitting down and having regular meals with those who are nearest and dearest to us. Eating together can have benefits upon both our emotional and physical health. It can be a time where we share experiences about our day, learn from each other’s experiences, a place to externalise our worries and concerns and to build and maintain relationships through communication. Research suggests that spending this quality time with others, over a meal, can have a positive impact upon our well-being.
In considering the benefits of communal eating this new initiative at Borough Market is likely to have a positive impact upon the emotional and physical health of those taking part. We have evolved to be part of small social groups, needing social connection and interaction to combat loneliness. I believe this initiative can raise awareness around the importance of addressing social isolation and loneliness in our lives. I think we need to take the concepts from this initiative and ensure in our own lives that we are making a conscious effort to be socially connected to others, to reduce the negative impact of loneliness.”
Borough Market has been operating in London for over 1000 years but the Market in its current form was born in November 1998, when pioneering traders such as Turnips, Brindisa and Neal’s Yard Dairy started to sell their produce directly to the public, cementing its position as a world class food destination. 21 years on and the Market is celebrating its coming of age with a brand new look.
The Borough Market Kitchen opens 13th November and will be open between 10am and 5pm (Mon-Thursday, Saturday) and 10am-6pm (Friday), it is located in Jubilee Place, the Market’s current wholesale area. Once the kitchen closes for the day, Jubilee Place will revert back to wholesale operations.
Darren Henaghan, Managing Director, Borough Market, said: “Borough Market has long been a place for London locals and visitors alike to come together over a love of great food and so what better way to celebrate our 21st birthday than to invite people to come and sit together in our new Market Kitchen to eat and connect in a shared space. We are aware that loneliness is now not just a problem for older people but that young children and adults also suffer and so we will also be introducing a ‘buddy bench’ where people will be encouraged to share food and conversation with others.”