Eating with Friends

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What is Eating With Friends About?

Eating With Friends is a Tasmania wide social eating program. EWF is about bringing older people together for a nutritious meal and making new friends. It is about reducing social isolation, improving well being and building community capacity. It is about working with communities and volunteer groups to organise and run regular group meals.

Individual groups do not receive funding, operating on a cost-recovery basis, and driven by volunteers and community partnerships.


The first group started in West Moonah in 2000.  It grew out of concern from Meals on Wheels volunteers that so many older people were eating alone.  A group was formed to bring socially isolated older people together to share a meal and to enjoy the company of others. That group still operates, with a total of 37 EWF groups currently being run by different community groups and organisations around Tasmania.

Three Models

The models of EWF groups are suggested as a guide for new groups. There is no fixed format on how an EWF group should be run. EWF groups have a community development focus, with groups being run by a local community for their community, with each addressing their own needs, utilising available resources and strengths.

  1. Community Based Model / Eating In:  volunteers organise and host a meal.
  2. Eating Out Model:  groups visit cafes and restaurants or volunteers host a meal and outsource the meal preparation.
  3. School Model:  students organise and host a meal.

Core Values of EWF

There are 7 core values developed by the EWF Steering Committee for groups to practice and promote the aims of EWF.

  • provide low cost, varied and nutritious meals
  • encourage a culture of inclusiveness – everyone is welcome
  • target those with limited socialising opportunities
  • focus on local community resources
  • provide opportunity for volunteer involvement
  • respond to the needs of the community
  • ensure appropriate access is provided

What People Say About EWF

270412_011“You can sit next to a total stranger and you end up chatting away like you’ve known them all your life” (participant)

“I like helping others.  It makes me feel good about giving something back to the community I live in” (volunteer)

“I have made new friends, we do other things together and I look forward to coming along every time.” (participant)

The Benefits of Social Eating

The social aspects of meal times have been identified as an integral part of the eating process. Eating as a social activity is a way of connecting and interacting with other people. Social isolation, which is the lived experience of many older people, is identified as a factor that interferes with their ability to eat well. Research shows that the social experience around meal times can make a big difference to appetites.

Click here to download a copy of  Eating With Friends: Background and benefits document

Eating With Friends Steering Committee

The EWF Project is guided by a partnership between several organisations.

The following organisations are currently represented on the EWF Steering Committee.

  • West Moonah & Claremont Eating With Friends
  • Clarence City Council
  • Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania
  • Community Nutrition Unit, DHHS
  • Derwent Valley Community House
  • Health Promotion South, DHHS
  • Dept of Rural Health, UTAS
  • Integrated Living, Launceston

Eating With Friends Groups

Is there an Eating With Friends group operating in your area?


For contact numbers, meeting days and other information about specific groups, please contact the EWF Project by phone or email.



 Eating With Friends Newsletters

 To download a copy of the Eating With Friends Newsletter, click here

Why Be Part of the EWF Network?

  • a part time Coordinator is available to support existing groups and help establish new groups around the state.
  • pamphlets and posters for individual groups to advertise themselves
  • an action kit to help groups get started
  • promotional DVD
  • newsletters
  • mentoring support

Eating With Friends Action Kit

An Action Kit is available to assist in the establishment of an Eating With Friends (EWF) Group. The EWF concept is a very flexible model that can be adapted across a broad range of locations and interest groups.

The Action Kit presents a step by step guide to identifying the local needs and resources, and establishing and maintaining a group. The ideas and suggestions can be modified to suit specific requirements and circumstances and provide a useful starting point.

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The Action Kit is made up of the following sections:

  • Starting up
  • Choosing a model
  • Finding a venue
  • Your first function
  • Finding funding and donations
  • Finding participants
  • Recruiting volunteers
  • Organising transport
  • Food and menu-planning
  • Food safety
  • Promotion through the media
  • Planning special functions
  • Other activities
  • Keeping going
  • Active participation
  • Money and budgeting
  • Useful Contacts
 To order a free copy of the Action Kit please email karen at       

Contact the Project Coordinator

For more information, please contact the Project Coordinator, Karen Austen on 03 6228 1220 or  email