By Dan Walsh
In an earnest effort to encourage and maintain social connections, Healthy Wexford is calling on all to develop their outdoor lunchtime social engagement with a new initiative called #OpenLunch, this is where you use your lunchtime, and the open spaces – parks, green areas, beaches etc. to meet and connect with others in your area.
Whether it is a meet up with friends, remote workers connecting, or residents making new connections locally this is an opportunity to use your lunchtime and the wonderful open spaces across the county. You know, you could incorporate a ‘walk & talk’ or simply ‘meet to eat’; whatever you do it’s an opportunity to get out and connect with those in your area.
Speaking about the initiative Healthy County Committee member Mary B. O’Leary said; “We’ve all suffered reduced social connection over the recent past, whether it is through reduced activities, moving to working from home, or simply due to what we now know as the new normal. This initiative is about making the conscious effort to keep and build our social connections, while enjoying the great outdoor resources we have in the county. We’ve been piloting this in my own area and the reaction has been great.”
Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy, Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council is also enthusiastic and added; “We know that connecting is one of the five ways to well-being and I see this initiative being a catalyst to help people to do that in their own areas for a short time during the day”.
Chair of Wexford’s Healthy County Committee, Cllr John Hegarty encouraged people all around the county to organise an #OpenLunch in their own areas. “You don’t need anything special, and the concept can be flexible to suit you and your needs – make it an early or late lunchtime, walk and talk, just meet to eat, rotate the location – whatever works for you and your group,” he concluded.
Healthy County Co-ordinator, Annette Dupuy has set out some tips for organising an #OpenLunch and is encouraging people to check out the Community Walking Resources from Get Ireland Walking and sharing on social media use the #OpenLunch hashtag with your location so others in your area can find out what is happening.