Tackling Loneliness – Hilary’s Story

Hilary is a member of our weekly Extra Time Hub session. Extra Time Hub gives over 50s the chance to build friendships, stay active and tackle loneliness. Speaking to our programme lead Carl, Hilary had the following to say:

“Having lost my husband completely unexpectedly, followed by the first COVID shutdown, I was feeling completely shut off and isolated with no one to speak to to share things with or just to say hello. My only relatives left are my own two grown up children as my husband and I had no siblings. As my children both live over two hour’s drive away and there was no contact allowed in the first lockdown, it was a very difficult time.”

“I was put in touch with the BWitC group by a community liaison officer from my GP. Not knowing what to expect, I have to confess to making the initial call somewhat cautiously. I needn’t have worried! Carl, in charge of the community Extra Time Hub, put me at ease immediately and explained how the group worked. He followed this up with a personal visit to the front gate where we spoke at considerable distance! I learned that there really was something for everybody, whatever their individual interest.”

At first everything was on Zoom as personal contact in groups were not allowed. With quizzes, cookery, keep fit, yoga, bingo and more, there was something to look forward to every day. I was immediately made to feel welcome on the Zoom call by all which joined in and Carl told me about a couple who lived very near me. We spoke on the phone and as soon as we could, we met up outside, albeit social distancing. It was an immediate friendship, one I value very much as we have so much in common. It was lovely to have someone to speak to again. This was followed by Carl introducing me to another contact I had met on the Zoom calls. Again it was so nice to have someone to chat to and to share things with.”

“Belonging to this community group has been the most enormous help, from being so alone in a very dark place, to re-emerging again with many new contacts and friends. The recently acquired allotment has added so much, as now we can meet outside, not only for walks, but also to grow our own produce. People have been encouraged to take anything they would like to grow and as there are two plots, there will be plenty of fruit and veg!”

“The addition this group has made to my well-being is hard to put into words, it has helped enormously because of the loneliness caused by my bereavement and COVID and having to readjust my lifestyle. I am really grateful for what the group has done for me and especially grateful to Carl for his extremely hard work throughout the week in making this so successful.”