A disabled woman has been inundated with dinner offers after appealing for company on Facebook because she was lonely.
Writing on the Brighton Sunday Roast Club page, Pat Obyrne told other local residents: “I am disabled, love roast dinners but live on my own, no car, very lonely, but have not got a big appetite.”
It wasn’t long before she began to receive kind messages from strangers, with many offering to take Pat out to dinner or inviting her to their family homes.
Brighton-based businessman Michael Taggart recently tweeted a series of the responses, which have been liked more than 15,000 times.
In response to Pat’s message, one woman said: “Hi Pat, you’d be welcome round ours for a roast, as long as you don’t mind sharing the table with a cheeky toddler! We could pick you up.”
Another couple added: “We would love to accompany you for a roast, and would be very happy to pick you up and take you home, we can go anywhere you like! Lots of places do half-size portions for smaller appetites, so no worries there.”
Local restaurants have also commented on the post, offering to host Pat and her guests for free.
The Brighton Sunday Roast Club page was originally set up so locals could share details of places to find good food, but Kefi Chadwick, one of the four admins who manage the page, said she’s happy its purpose has evolved.
“I was delighted by the response to Pat’s piece, but not that surprised,” she told HuffPost UK.
“By and large we have very nice members who are engaged in their community - hence their interest in where’s good locally to go. I love that a page about roasts can also make someone feel connected to others.”
Pat’s post follows research released by disability charity Sense earlier this year, which showed one in four people avoid conversations with disabled people, resulting in “epidemic” levels of loneliness.
Commenting at the time, Rachel Reeves MP, co-chair of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, said: “Many of the barriers to building social connections for disabled people are practical ones, such as the need for accessible transport and buildings, financial support and appropriate social care; but public attitudes also play a part in the risk of loneliness for people with disability.
“Increasing awareness of different conditions and battling misconceptions about disability are both important steps to help reduce loneliness amongst disabled people.”
In his tweet about Pat’s message, Michael Taggart called the responses “life-affirming”.