Keep socially active as you age well in Eastbourne & Hailsham

Maintaining social connections is key to living well as we age. There are many suitable social groups locally, in East Dean, Friston, Hailsham, Polegate, Willingdon...

Getting involved in regular social activities can help support our health and wellbeing, but it can become harder to stay connected as we age. Luckily, there are many groups to join in East Dean, Friston, Hailsham, Polegate, Willingdon. Here are just a few of our recommendations, so why not give them a try to reap the benefits of fun and sociability?

Just Friends Eastbourne

Frederick Smith set up Just Friends to help him feel less alone after his wife died. Now, he helps over 500 people living alone in East Sussex to connect, socialise and overcome loneliness together. The charity organises social meetings, walking groups and a lunch each month in each branch. In addition, members can enjoy events including Tea Parties with Entertainment, Steam Train outings, Wine Tasting excursions, Theatre Visits, Specific Lunches including Halloween, Christmas etc and more.

They wish to reach out to people who live alone in particular but, “There is No Age Limit, No Membership Fee and No Expectation,” says Just Friends. The Eastbourne branch meets at the Bibendum Pub & Restaurant on the first and third Tuesday of the month. On the second Tuesday is a walking group and on the fourth Tuesday a lunch. Contact them by phone on 01323 725882 or by email at [email protected]

“Just Friends is a lovely club for people on their own. Weekly meetings, days out, walking, meals out. Best thing I’ve ever done. It has changed my life.” Audry.

Location: Bibendum Pub & Restaurant, 1 Grange Rd, Eastbourne, BN21 4EU.

Community Cafés: Hailsham, Polegate, Willingdon

The Polegate Community Café (previously the Polegate Memory Café) was first launched in June 2017, the Hailsham Community Café was launched in November 2019, and the Willingdon Community Café in June 2022. These groups provide a safe environment for older people to meet, enjoy some entertainment and each other’s company. The gatherings offer a range of activities for people to get involved with, including live music, games and special themed sessions. Run by Home Instead Eastbourne & Hailsham in partnership with the Wealden Dementia Action Alliance, those who attend the cafes are encouraged to take an active role.

“Our Care Professionals provide companionship and support in the comfort of our client’s homes, as well as encouraging older people to engage and be part of the community, because we know how important this is. We’ve had great success with our Community Cafés, with hundreds turning up over the years joining us and enjoying the fun.” Ian Cottrell, Joint Owner & Managing Director, Home Instead Eastbourne and Hailsham.


  • The Polegate Café is supported by Hart Reade Solicitors and meets on the 1st Thursday of each month, 2-4pm, at Polegate Community Centre. Please call to book your place on 01323 819191.
  • The Hailsham Café, also supported by Hart Reade Solicitors, meets on the 2nd Thursday of each month, 2-4pm at St Wilfrid Church Hall. Please call to book your place on 01323 819191.
  • The Willingdon Café is supported by Haine & Son Funeral Directors and meets on the fourth Thursday of every month, 2-4pm at Trinity Church. Please call to book your place on 01323 819191.

Making Memories Day Club

Making Memories is a Day Club specifically tailored for people with mild to moderate dementia provided by Age Concern Eastbourne. It provides a range of stimulating activities and nutritious lunches within a safe and welcoming environment, whilst also fostering informal social interaction and companionship.

Running five days per week, a charge of £55 per day is made for the service which includes a delicious 2 course lunch. Transport to and from the Venton Centre where Age Concern is based is also available at a cost of £9 per journey. For more information contact Lydia Finnigan on 01323 405163 or email [email protected]

Location: Age Concern Eastbourne, The William & Patricia, Venton Centre, Junction Rd, Eastbourne BN21 3QY.

Coffee and Company

Coffee & Co is for anyone in East Dean and Friston who needs refreshment and a relaxing and friendly break over a cuppa and a slice of homemade cake. It is open to everyone, including those new to the area, or feeling lonely, and non-church goers. The group meets on the first and third Fridays of each month at East Dean Church, from 10am to 11.30am. Please contact Phil Hill for details by email at [email protected]

The East Dean and Friston Village Hall also holds regular coffee mornings and afternoon teas for anyone to pop into. Coffee mornings are held on the last Thursday of each month, 10.30 am to 12.30pm. Afternoon tea is held on the second Thursday of each month. Contact Rita Laws on 01323 422235 for more details.

East Sussex Federation of Women’s Institutes

East Sussex Federation of Women’s Institutes (ESFWI) was formed in 1919 having originally been part of the Sussex Federation which was the first to be created in the country in 1917! It has nearly 100 WIs across the County in both towns and villages.  Each WI has its own character, activities etc. As a member paying an annual subscription in East Sussex you will also have access to the wide range of activities, workshops, outings etc. arranged by ESFWI.

The friendly office staff, based in Hailsham, are happy to give information about local WIs for you to visit and you can view information on their Facebook page.

There are branches in East Dean, Hailsham, Hampden Park, Herstmonceux, Meads, Polegate…

Eastbourne and Hailsham and the surrounding areas have many social groups and activities for older adults. We hope you find our list of suggestions for local groups useful and you, or an older loved one, can get out and about to reap the benefits of social connection.

Many people we support simply want company and conversation. Find out more about our Companionship Care and other home care services in Eastbourne and Hailsham.