Reverend Tina Upton

“The way we live in society these days has huge implications for the problem of social isolation. I think loneliness is a different issue again – loneliness is a feeling. You can be lonely in a crowd, it is a subjective experience. Equally someone sitting in their lounge alone might not feel lonely.”

Reverend Tina Upton, Vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Blacon put in a bid to Brightlife for funding for outreach provision that would help people with poor mobility to get out of the house to go to their community café. The project is called ‘Blacon on the Move’.

 “We have great facilities in Blacon through our outreach project which has a café and gardening club which are popular with older members of the community. We recognised that some people weren’t able to come and enjoy these facilities as they were immobile and unable to leave the house without assistance. We had only ever dreamed of being able to afford a minibus which now enables us to help those individuals with poor mobility to come and meet other people and make new friends.”

Tina believes that social isolation is a huge problem in today’s society, she thinks it is a shame that people don’t know their neighbours and that families move to other ends of the country and even world without thinking of the consequences of the older relatives they leave behind.

Tina explained:  I hope that the new Minister for Loneliness will highlight the issue across every Government department so that they can each prioritise what they are able to do to tackle it. It is so pervasive and affects so many parts of life, from social care to people’s health. If you sort out loneliness you could crack a lot of it. I don’t think one minister can do that alone – they need the weight of the Government behind them.”

Tina is passionate about International Women’s Day being a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women all over the world. Commenting on what International Women’s Day means to Tina, she said: “It is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate women around the world. If I think about the amazing women I know, it is about the inspiration they give me – from looking at their achievements and feeling that maybe that could be me. If I could go back and advise my younger self, I would say have confidence, have a go – because you never know what might happen and what have you got to lose?”

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