Yearly Archives: 2018

David Kirsopp (67) and John McKinley (78) – Little Actors Theatre Group

The Little Actors Theatre Company run an over 50s theatre group weekly at Neston Theatre Arts. The group has been meeting since early 2018 and has written a play which they are now producing and will be performing at a local drama festival.

Since David Kirsopp (67) and John McKinley (78) met one another at the group they have become firm friends even though they are quite different to one another. David admits to being quiet and John loves to talk – but they have a lot of other things in common. They both live alone and agree that it is good to have a regular commitment that gets them out of the house. David found out about the group after hearing about Brightlife on BBC Radio Merseyside and says it has been a great experience meeting John as it eases the loneliness he feels. He explains, “We got chatting about the different places we had been to in Liverpool over the years and realised our paths have probably crossed before without us ever meeting. Coming along to the acting group has been great to get me out of the house and get talking”.

John was previously in another drama group and enjoys the camaraderie of performing. John came up with the idea for the play that the group has co-written and is now rehearsing. He explained: “I once went on a cruise holiday and was sharing some of the funny things that had happened whilst I was onboard. That gave us the idea for our play and it just went from there! As well as the production, it has been wonderful to make new friends like David”.

Volunteer in 2019!

New Volunteering Opportunity

Have you ever considered volunteering but feel like you don’t quite have enough free time to commit to a role? We have a role which is just a few hours a week, you will receive full support and training to ensure you are fully prepared to host each gathering.

If you’re friendly, sensitive and have good organisational skills, then please call us – we need someone just like you!

Brightlife’s Lache Drop-In Leader Role:

• Hosting friendly gatherings for local residents
• Giving a few hours of your time each week
• Full support and training provided

This post might suit a parent who wants to meet some more people locally or who’s planning to build their experience back up before returning to work.

For more information, speak to any of the Brightlife team on 01606 884444 or complete this form.

A Connected Society

The UK government published a policy paper in October which outlined a strategy for tackling loneliness:

A connected society: A Strategy for tackling loneliness – laying the foundations for change.

This strategy sets out the approach to tackling loneliness in England. It marks a shift in the way we see and act on loneliness, both within government and in society more broadly. It builds on the work of many organisations and individuals over the years, and is government’s first major contribution to the national conversation on loneliness and the importance of social connections.

“Across our communities there are people who can go for days, weeks or even a month without seeing a friend or family member. There are people who miss the camaraderie of some company, the support of a friendly voice, or just someone who can make them smile or laugh to lift their spirits” Theresa May, Prime Minister.

In January 2018 the Prime Minister welcomed the work of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, and committed government to implementing many of its recommendations, including to publish this strategy. In June 2018, the Prime Minister announced £20 million of funding, including the £11.5 million Building Connections Fund, to support voluntary, community and charitable organisations to tackle loneliness, building on the fantastic work they are already doing. This complements the wider ambitions of the Civil Society Strategy to enable civil society to thrive.

Overall, this strategy describes government’s current understanding of the issues and sets out a powerful vision of its ambitions for change. It commits to some practical actions that government will now take to improve how organisations, community infrastructure and our wider culture support people’s social relationships. It also explains that government will learn from these policy changes, and will use that learning to inform future work. This is the approach we need to take long term to make this major social change.

But just as all of us can be affected by loneliness, so all of us can take action to help defeat it. This strategy also highlights a wider set of ambitions around the role of local authorities, the voluntary sector and businesses, as well as families, communities, friends and the individual. To achieve long-lasting change and improve social connections across society we must all play our role and work together across sectors.

 

 

 

 

Sue Walker (65)

Sue only realized that she was a lesbian a couple of years ago after retiring from her career in midwifery. Living in a rural community, there wasn’t anyone to reach out and talk to.  She was a member of a choir called Decibellas and a young lesbian friend encouraged her to join the Manchester Lesbian Gay Choir where she began to meet more LGBT friends, one of whom introduced her to the Silver Rainbows group in Chester.

She explains “It was terribly isolating coming out as a woman in my 60s and I didn’t have anyone to really talk to about it.  Going along to the Silver Rainbows group has opened up so many more doors for me and it has been great to talk to people without feeling judged.”

Continuing her love of choirs, Sue joined the Proud Marys Choir and has performed at various different Pride events which has enabled her to make more new friendships.

“I felt very vulnerable when I first came out and wanted to meet other lesbian women my age.  Silver Rainbows has opened doors to other groups like the Proud Marys, I really enjoy my get-togethers with them.”

 

 

 

Steve Saddington (64) Brighter Days

The Brighter Days project team organises a range of different activities including musical events, Theatre trips to Storyhouse and a visit from a Zookeeper along with some animals from Chester Zoo.

Project volunteer Steve Saddington (64) explains that he likes to get involved because it puts a smile on people’s faces, “It can be lonely sitting in your room all day every day and when we have activities like quizzes and music events, I like to help out. Holding events on-site also enables some of the residents who can’t get out and about to still enjoy themselves”.

Derek Edge

“I was bought a smart phone and my first thought was ‘well the phone might be smart but I am not’. I did say that there is more chance of me flying a 747 across the Atlantic than working the damn thing.  So I searched around and I came across Digital Buddies at Storyhouse in Chester. I’ve already been twice and I’ve found it helpful.  You come away from the initial experience more confident to be able to work things out afterwards.”

Love Later Life Festival

A Celebration of Later Life

The UK’s population is getting older. For every 1,000 people aged 16 to 64, there are 285 people aged 65 and over (according to July 2017 Office for National Statistics).

It is the International Day of Older Persons on 1st October, closely followed by ‘Silver Sunday’ on 7th October which is an annual day of fun activities for older people in the UK. To celebrate, Storyhouse, in collaboration with Age UK Cheshire and Brightlife, is holding a ‘Love Later Life’ festival of workshops, theatre, song and wellbeing on 1st and 2nd October and 7th October.

The Love Later Life festival will see a range of fun, creative and informative events all geared towards the over 50’s, all completely free of charge. With everything from laughter yoga to later life financial planning, the festival is focused on welcoming older people into the cultural centre and celebrating their wisdom and experience.

Storyhouse Artistic Director, Alex Clifton, said: “Our culture is very biased towards the young. As our population ages, we need to build a society which is kinder, more generous to its elders. We are delighted to be working together with Age UK Cheshire and Brightlife for the Love Later Life festival. There is something for everyone over the three days and I am looking forward to welcoming Chester’s older residents to Storyhouse as they take part in the many and varied activities.”

The event kicks off on Monday 1st October with a Poetry Open Mic in the Garrett Theatre, (slightly ahead of National Poetry Day which is on Thursday 4th October), compered and headlined by Joy France (Nationwide Poetry Campaign 2017).

Cheshire’s 2004 Poet Laureate John Lindley will be taking to the mic along with other performers who have been discovered from some of Brightlife’s projects, including Ray Thompson (90) and Audrey Thomas (90). Over the years Ray has received several accolades for his poems including a letter of thanks from President George Bush. Audrey only discovered a talent for poetry writing when she started attending Brightlife get-togethers in Malpas and credits the project with helping her make new friends and get out of the house.

Dale Maskell, Chief Executive of Age UK Cheshire, said: “We can’t wait to welcome people to the Love Later Life festival at Storyhouse! If there’s a secret to being healthy and happy in later life we believe that staying active, connected, learning new skills and being able to share your life experiences is a major factor.”

Chris McClelland, Head of Brightlife, said: “On its simplest level, it’s about feeling part of something bigger than you. We see time and again how the arts and opportunities for creative expression can help start conversations, open discussions, trigger precious memories or just bring like-minded people together through a fun activity.”

A full programme of activities is available at www.storyhouse.com/event/love-later-life or click here to download a programme of events.

An Afternoon of Roald Dahl

‘Never Grow Up, Always Down’ North West charity urges Cheshire residents ahead of Roald Dahl Day event series

The Reader arrives in Chester with an evening of Roald Dahl for big kids at The Storyhouse.

Local charity The Reader is launching a Shared Reading campaign in Cheshire on Roald Dahl Day with an evening at Storyhouse celebrating the magic of reading aloud with adults.

The ‘Evening of Roald Dahl’ event, from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday 13th September, will showcase some of the author’s lesser-known adults’ stories, including The Umbrella Man.

Well known for his enchanting and enduring tales for children, Dahl also wrote 51 short stories for adults, collected in four books, some of which might not be suitable for small ears, they are: Over to You; Kiss, Kiss; Someone Like You and Switch Bitch.

The event is part of The Reader’s Cheshire roadshow, created for October’s Voluntary Arts and Age UK Age of Creativity festival, which is designed to get more older people involved in creative activities.

The roadshow will see The Reader popping up for ‘An Afternoon of Roald Dahl’ in Northwich Library on 1st October and at Ellesmere Port Library on 3rd October, both from 1pm to 3pm. It will then head back to Storyhouse on 7th October to celebrate Silver Sunday, with Shared Reading sessions at 2pm and 3pm, in collaboration with Brightlife as part of Age UK Cheshire’s Love Later Life festival.

The Reader was founded in Liverpool a decade ago and is now supporting 500 Shared Reading groups up and down the country every single week, including more than 200 in the North West.

The Storyhouse already hosts two of these groups. The Cheshire campaign will see the launch of 10 more, led by 20 new local volunteers, in a variety of community, dementia and mental health centres across the county.

“Isolation among adults has been shown to be a public health problem in Cheshire, as it is across the country, with more than 2 million people suffering from chronic loneliness,” said The Reader’s founder and chief executive Jane Davis.

We’re now appealing for the people of Cheshire to join the reading revolution – particularly those who are keen to build Shared Reading communities in Chester, Northwich, Ellesmere Port, Weaverham and Tarporley. As Roald Dahl said in his final children’s book, The Minpins, ‘those who don’t believe in magic will never find it’, so come along to one of our roadshow events to experience it in action.

This project is supported by Brightlife Cheshire, a coalition of organisations working together to help reduce social isolation among people aged over 50 in Cheshire West and Chester, as well as the NHS West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, responsible for commissioning health and care services across the area, with a particular focus on dementia and mental health for this project.

Evaluation carried out by The Reader and the University of Liverpool has shown that Shared Reading groups can improve wellbeing, reduce social isolation and build stronger, more supportive communities.

Groups are free to attend and open to everyone regardless of age, ability or background. Weekly sessions are led by a trained Reader Leader who brings something – a short story, poem, play or novel – to be read aloud and discussed by the group.

By reading with purpose, and sharing thoughts and reflections, many group members find personal meaning in the literature and form strong social connections with others.

“It’s fantastic to see The Reader taking part in Brightlife’s Silver Sunday celebrations at Storyhouse in Chester,” said Chris McClelland, Head of Brightlife. “This project is a wonderful example of how the arts, culture or just a shared interest can really bring people together to help combat loneliness in our borough.”

 

 

 

Listening Ear

Listening Ear provides a range of therapeutic services to support adults who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues. They have recently been commissioned by Brightlife (Lottery funding) to deliver two ambitious new services for older people (50+); Men’s Health Counselling Service and Friendship After Bereavement.

Men’s Health Counselling Service

Men’s Health is a Counselling service for men aged 50 and over in the Cheshire West and Chester area, presenting with social isolation due to ‘major life changes’ in later life. Listening Ear recognise social connectedness as a major factor in maintaining long-term positive mental health and resilience, and therefore are providing this service to help reduce social isolation amongst men.

The service offers 6 sessions of one to one Counselling and upon completion, will be given the opportunity to refer on to a Horticultural Therapy group or other positive group activity.

The aim of the service is to reduce social isolation and loneliness for people due to major life changes in later life and the pathway is:

• Referral made to Listening Ear by self, GP or 3rd Party
• Referral is Triaged
• Referral is assessed for suitability via telephone
• 1-1 Counselling session usually lasting 50 minutes, weekly over a period of 6 weeks
• Signposting to Horticultural Group or other positive activity

Men’s Health Remit:

The service is accessible to individuals experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues such as grief reaction and lower level depression and anxiety, stress and low self-esteem.

The service is unable to accept referrals from individuals experiencing moderate to severe and enduring mental health issues such as severe depression or anxiety, trauma, personality disorders or individuals receiving treatment in secondary care. In this instance, referral to more specialist services such as the Western Cheshire Primary Care Mental Health Team would be appropriate.

Friendship After Bereavement (FAB)

Friendship After Bereavement (FAB) is a post-bereavement service for men and women over 50 in the Cheshire West and Cheshire area. The service initially offers 6 weekly one-to-one Listening sessions with one of our trained volunteers. Following this, you will then be given the opportunity to join our facilitator-led Friendship After Bereavement group. The FAB group offers a safe and confidential space to explore issues such as the physical and emotional effects of bereavement. Group members meet for lunch, organise trips and generally start to enjoy life again.

The aim of the service is to reduce social isolation and loneliness for people bereaved and the pathway is:

• Referral made to Listening Ear by self, GP or 3rd Party
• Referral is Triaged
• Referral is assessed for suitability via telephone
• 1-1 “Listening based intervention” usually lasting 50 minutes, weekly over a period of 6 weeks
• Fortnightly peer group support and organised ‘social events’ (£1 attendance fee charged)

FAB Remit:

The service is accessible to individuals experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues such as grief reaction and lower level depression and anxiety, stress and low self-esteem.

The service is unable to accept referrals from individuals experiencing moderate to severe and enduring mental health issues such as severe depression or anxiety, trauma, personality disorders or individuals receiving treatment in secondary care. In this instance, referral to more specialist services such as the Western Cheshire Primary Care Mental Health Team would be appropriate.

The Men’s Health Cheshire programme and Friendship After Bereavement Cheshire programme currently do not have waiting lists. To refer a person  please contact the team via the following channels:

Call: 0151 488 6648
Email: referral@listening-ear.co.uk
Website: www.listening-ear.co.uk

Viv Gee Volunteer

“Through Brightlife I’ve met lots of new people which has really helped me in older age. It does take confidence to get out of the house, walk into somewhere new and strike up a conversation. Even though I am used to it, I still get nervous but if you can make that first step, meeting new people can make all of the difference. I want people to know they don’t have to be alone.”

Viv Gee, Chair of the Older People’s Alliance for Brightlife jokes that she has never been busier since retiring! Viv was previously involved in a North West forum on ageing and got involved with Brightlife because she liked the fact that it is led and designed by older people for older people.

Viv has experienced other projects where assumptions have been made about what the older people will want from it and thinks Brightlife’s approach is exactly what is needed. She believes that there is a wide spectrum to the subject of loneliness. Viv said: “When people talk about loneliness in older people there is the temptation to think about Granny at home on her own. But it isn’t just cut and dried – it has various strands to it. For instance I know that you can have social interactions with people but then go home and feel lonely. What we need is greater co-ordination to tackle the issues – these campaigns like Brightlife are great and we now need more co-ordination from the new Minister for Loneliness so that people can learn what is working well and how to replicate that in more communities.”

Viv understands that it takes confidence for people to go out and make new friends in older age but wants to encourage them to give it a go and sees international Women’s Day as an important time for women to be recognised and taken seriously. She is also a member of the WI and explains that back in 1943 the resolution was passed at the WI for equal pay for women, so it is disheartening that we are still not there.

“There’s still so much to do but International Women’s Day gives us a platform to say we are here, we mean something and we have got a lot to do, so let’s get on with it! If I could give my younger self some advice it would be to stop worrying about things and just do it!”

When asked how she feels to be recognised as an amazing woman by Brightlife, she said: “I really don’t class myself as an amazing woman. I get a great deal out of volunteering and really enjoy being part of something that is helping to make the lives of older people better.”

Interview by Kate Cousens in celebration of International Women’s Day 2018

Age Friendly Cheshire

Cheshire West and Chester is taking steps to become a better place to grow older

Cheshire West and Chester has joined a worldwide network of communities committed to becoming better places for people of all ages to grow older.

The World Health Organization has confirmed Cheshire West and Chester borough as a member of the WHO Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. The network promotes age-friendliness around the world and has 600 members across 38 countries worldwide, representing over 190 million people.

Cheshire West and Chester has also been welcomed as a member of the UK Network of Age-friendly communities, a network committed to promoting healthy and active ageing and creating great places to live across the UK.

Anna Dixon, chief executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, the UK Affiliate lead for the network, said: “Communities must be inclusive of people of all ages and abilities. We’re delighted Cheshire West and Chester has joined a growing movement of communities working to ensure everyone has an enjoyable later life.”

In Cheshire West and Chester, the number of over 65s will increase by 46% to more than 100,000 by 2035. The number of people aged over 85 will more than double, to almost 20,000. Many people are living with complex health conditions and there are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK. We want to ensure living longer is matched by living more fulfilling lives by ensuring that people stay connected to the community.

Cllr Sam Dixon, Leader of the Council said: “Ensuring that older people and adults who may need additional support, are able to lead fulfilled and independent lives is a council priority. The age-friendly movement provides a positive focus for working together with older people to develop an age-friendly culture. We want to unite people across the borough with a common aim; creating a borough that is more compassionate and inclusive for people of all ages. I would encourage everyone to get involved, to help make our borough more age-friendly and inclusive and a better place to live.”

The approach to becoming age-friendly is being developed with, and shaped by, our residents and communities. Participating organisations include Cheshire West and Chester Council, the Older Peoples Network, Brightlife, Brightlife’s Older People’s Alliance, NHS West Cheshire and Vale Royal Clinical Commissioning Groups, Age UK Cheshire, The University of Chester and the Centre for Ageing and Mental Health, Cheshire Community Action and the Dementia Action Alliance.

Cllr Louise Gittins, Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing, said: “Becoming part of the Global and UK Networks is supported by the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board and supports our aim to improve everyone’s quality of life. The networks are an opportunity to work together to change attitudes and value the unique contribution everyone has to make regardless of age.”

To play your part in making your local community and the borough a great place to grow older and become part of the ‘Age Friendly West Cheshire Network’ get in touch at: InclusiveCommunities@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

To find out more about Age Friendly Communities visit:

Age-friendly World: www.extranet.who.int/agefriendlyworld/who-network/

UK network of Age Friendly Communities: www.ageing-better.org.uk/age-friendly-communities and www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/the-facts-on-loneliness/

Kate Blakemore’s Bright Stars

“It has always been my vision to create a community for women where they can access support. I have been surprised at how much the mentoring relationships help the older women who have lost support networks they might have built up through their children, no longer meeting other women on the school run or at toddler groups. There are fewer social groups for them and they sometimes wonder where they fit into society. Brightlife has given many of them a new avenue to make new friends as well as making a difference to someone else’s life.”

Kate Blakemore runs Motherwell, a registered charity which supports the mental health and wellbeing of women, primarily mothers from disadvantaged backgrounds. Kate has received Brightlife funding for a mentoring programme where women over 50 mentor younger women who have had their children taken from their care.

“I had a lot of interest from older women wanting to help younger women going through difficulties to help share their experience and provide them with support. The mentoring relationship is long-term over a couple of years so that trust is built up and a deep relationship forms. This can be life changing for both women.”

The whole concept of Motherwell is women supporting one another through a range of different initiatives, such as counselling, peer support, workshops and the mentoring. The mentor is a constant in the each other’s lives for at least two years –so that a strong relationship built on trust is made. The mentor works on changing that Mother’s life and mental health through the inter-generational support. Many don’t have relationships with their own families and have no-one else to turn to for advice and guidance – the relationships have helped the younger women in all aspects of their lives, getting some of them back to work and others to better health.

International Women’s Day is a big event in Kate’s life after she launched Motherwell on the day four years ago. To Kate it provides the chance to celebrate the achievements of women and encourage one another to believe in themselves and try new things. When asked how it feels to be considered an amazing woman, Kate said: “It is really humbling to be recognised – I don’t see myself as amazing. I have volunteered in many different aspects of life and I just want to encourage other women to believe in themselves and just go for it!”

Interview by Kate Cousens in celebration of International Women’s Day 2018

Great Get Together 2018

Great Get Together events bring crowds to Storyhouse in memory of Jo Cox MP

Communities came together in a display of unity during last weekend’s Great Get Together at Storyhouse, organised in partnership with Brightlife. More than 120,000 social gatherings took place across the country.

Children from Chester Bluecoat CE Primary School had a WW2 history lesson and took part in a mock air raid, spent some shillings and interviewed older people about their lives.

There were performances from Chester’s Silver Singers and Holt Village Voices led by James Sills, and in the studio theatre, comedy Paradise Lodge about dementia. Throughout the weekend people had the opportunity to share a memory in the pop up Share a Memory booth and also share their thoughts on film about loneliness.

Workshops included bird box and bug hotel making, crafts, conversation through food, painting, jewellery making, dance, theatre and improv comedy.  Event goers had the opportunity to talk about their sporting memories with Active Cheshire plus Virtual Reality displays including swimming with sharks.

Over the weekend Storyhouse gave its focus to combatting loneliness within Chester’s older residents. We brought older people into the cultural centre, and gave them pre-eminence. There were painting classes, lego sessions, dance workshops, performances, talks and conversation groups running throughout the building all weekend. This was our opportunity to give a strong message that older residents are valued, and their experience and voice is celebrated.” Alex Clifton, Artistic Director.

This is the second time we have been involved in the Great Get Together weekend at Storyhouse and it didn’t disappoint. This key event in Chester provided a fantastic opportunity for the older community to actively take part in various activities and workshops. It was great for the team to speak to visitors and to discuss the activities people are interested in. We hope, with so many of our providers running activities, that this event will have helped to raise awareness of our current and new Brightlife funded projects which have been set up specifically to help combat social isolation in Cheshire.”  Chris McClelland, Head of Brightlife.

The Great Get Together is part of Storyhouse’s celebrating age programme, organised in partnership with Brightlife the event has a focus on older people. To find out more about Storyhouse visit storyhouse.com.

 

Winsford Super Shed

A ‘Super Shed’ will be opened in Winsford this year. The new shed, modelled on the successful ‘Men in Sheds’ project, will allow men a place to come together and socialise.

Social isolation is one of society’s most pertinent issues and for those who are single or widowed and particularly men who have retired or been made redundant this is a real problem.

Men in Sheds is a project started by Age UK Cheshire in the autumn of 2008. It is based on an Australian project called Men’s Sheds, which has expanded greatly over the last few years with around 1,000 sheds now open. The ‘sheds’ are places where men can meet to undertake a variety of activities such as woodworking, metalworking, art and computers.

Age UK Cheshire’s Men in Sheds project currently has 4 sheds, in Hartford, Ellesmere Port, Crewe and Chester. We also have a Women in Sheds project at our Hartford Shed one day a week. We are opening a further shed in Winsford as we recognise that there is a real demand for this type of service which reduces social isolation and loneliness and gives an opportunity to share and learn new skills.

We are keen for the local community to get involved and volunteer to help us to build and shape the shed and make it a success and help it grow into a vital community hub in the town.

Angie Hamlett-Orme (Byron) (75)

“I love volunteering because of the feeling that I have achieved something and made some people’s lives better. I’d hate to be lonely so I do get myself involved in lots of things and I think it helps that I am a confident person. If I had a magic wand I would identify every single person who is lonely so that we could reach out to them – there are hundreds of lonely people we don’t know about and that makes me sad.”

Angie has led a busy life working in the army, as a Police Officer, Security Training Co-ordinator for a leading supermarket, an actress and a holiday representative. She now volunteers with the Brightlife Drop in at the Chatterbox Café in Winsford. Having had such diverse experiences in her life helps her to keep the customers entertained.

Angie explained that she found out about Brightlife through an advertisement in the local paper and thought that it looked interesting. She was amazed that Brightlife was talking about loneliness in people aged 50 plus, having always considered loneliness to be something that only affected people in much later life. She explained that she has since met a lot of people in their 50’s who have been affected by it and is pleased to be able to make a difference to their lives.

Through her diverse career, Angie has built up a lot of confidence in meeting new people and being able to approach a room full of strangers and start a conversation but she realises not everyone is able to do this.

“I’d hate to be lonely so I do work hard not to be by getting myself involved in lots of things. A lot of people I volunteer with don’t go out at night, they sit in stuck with the TV. They don’t know how to use the internet so they have no way of communicating with the outside world. To me that is loneliness and if we can help by organising different social things, that really helps an awful lot. I often encourage people to ask about and get involved in things that interest them – that helps build their confidence through spending time with other people.”

Through volunteering Angie gets a great sense of satisfaction that she has made some people’s lives better. She also acknowledges that they make a difference to her too and she looks forward to her time with the Brightlife group. She is keen for the new Minister for Loneliness to come out into the community and see the great work that is being done by people like her. Through better communications to let people know what is available to them and more funding to organise events, Angie believes the number of people feeling lonely could be reduced.

Asked how she feels to be recognised by Brightlife as an amazing woman, Angie said: “I don’t feel that amazing because everything I have done I have enjoyed doing! I have led a very busy life, an amazing life really – from being in the army, the police, my time with Tesco, then a holiday rep which was kind of like being a police officer in many ways! I have met some fantastic people and even now in later life, I am loving what I am doing and having the opportunity to meet more new people all of the time. It’s what keeps me going.”

Interview by Kate Cousens in celebration of International Women’s Day 2018

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