loneliness

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Befriending in North Surrey

Time to Talk is our befriending project in Surrey Heath. Over the last 6 months we’ve heard some lovely stories from our befrienders and the people they’ve spent time with:

Glen’s daughter became concerned about her mum who had always loved to chat was now struggling to socialise. Glen had suffered a loss, been unwell, moved house and was feeling lonely and isolated. ‘Time to Talk’ matched Glen with Yasmin, one of our volunteers, they hit it off immediately and Yasmin has visited Glen weekly ever since.

Glen’s daughter has noticed a big difference in her mum since the visits started. Glen very much enjoys Yasmin’s company, her visits are ‘the highlight of Mum’s week’. ‘Absolutely gorgeous’ is how Glen describes her time spent with Yasmin, ‘it gives me something to look forward to, we talk about all sorts of things, current affairs, dating and have a good laugh’.

Yasmin tells us that she wished she started volunteering years ago because the time she spends with Glen is lots of fun and flies by. They enjoy sharing stories and experiences, including the way dating has changed over the years, Yasmin had never heard of a dance hall!!

It’s a small thing to be a friend but it has such a huge impact. Why don’t you make a difference to someone’s life by being a Time to Talk volunteer https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/volunteering/time-to-talk/

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Start a Conversation

We are midway through National Conversation Week, a week in which we are challenged to try a little harder to engage with those around us; to start a conversation. Most of us are guilty of sending a text, writing an email or searching online, rather than speaking with someone, but for those of us experiencing loneliness, this online world can increase feelings of social isolation.

Loneliness impacts people of all ages and stages of life, it does not discriminate.

Around 15% of working age people and a similar number of 65-70 year olds, reported feeling lonely in a recent study. Reports of loneliness in the 17-25 age range are as high as 43%.

Loneliness can have a significant impact on our health and well being, on a par with smoking 15 cigarettes a day and costs the NHS £1.8 billion a year. It is easy to do something to help.

Talking to one another is rewarding, interesting and fun. Why not to spend this week trying a little harder to talk with people around you. Chat to the person next to you at the bus stop, catch up with old friends or call in on an elderly neighbour.

You can make a longer term difference by being a befriender in our local community so get in touch with alison@voluntarysupport.org.uk or elaine@voluntarysupport.org.uk to find out more.

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Time for a Cuppa

There are 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia right now and approximately 3000 people in our community of North Surrey. We can all feel lonely at times but people living with dementia and those who care for them face even bigger challenges. A third of people with dementia said they had lost friends following their diagnosis. The stigma around dementia can lead to people becoming isolated and poor experiences with the general public can make people withdraw from society. Becoming socially isolated can lead to a loss of confidence and a sense of loneliness, both of which have a negative impact on well-being.

Dementia UK are tackling the issues around dementia by providing specialist nurses to help people live positively with dementia but we can all do something to help others. Reaching out to people in our community who may be lonely or socially isolated can make a big difference. A small gesture like sharing a cuppa with a person who is feeling lonely can give so much, they will have something to look forward to, a sense of connection to others and a feeling that they are cared for. As one lady recently matched with a befriender said ‘I just miss having conversations with people’. 

You can tackle loneliness in your community and raise funds for Dementia UK during Time for a Cuppa week (1st to 8th of March). Why not share a tea party with friends and family, or reach out to someone in your community who may be lonely.

You can make a longer term difference by being a befriender in our local community so get in touch with alison@voluntarysupport.org.uk or elaine@voluntarysupport.org.uk to find out more.

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