Our activity groups open doors to increased wellbeing.

Barbara is 96 and has lived by herself since the death of her beloved husband Brian eight years ago. They had been married for more than 60 years.

“I get so lonely and depressed by myself,” said Barbara, who lives in Bristol. “I sometimes think I’ve been forgotten and I wish I had died before Brian.

“We had a lovely marriage and I miss him so much. I’m still in the house we got when we were first married but now I have no one to talk to. I never realised before just how important that is.”

However, life has improved for Barbara now she has joined the St Anne’s Bristol activity group run by Re-engage. She is driven to and from the event where she can make new friends, have a chat and enjoy a gentle game of boccia – a form of bowls played from a chair.

“It’s just so nice to be picked up and taken somewhere new,” said Barbara who only gave up driving when she turned 90. “It’s very hard to go anywhere because there’s only one bus an hour and I have mobility problems. 

“I really love meeting people and talking face to face. I enjoy telephone conversations but nothing is better than being with someone and just talking. It makes me so much happier.

“Going to the activity group has made such a difference to me. When I’m at home I can get lonely and anxious about things but when you’re with other people that’s all forgotten.

“Getting out of the house, even for a short while, is so important and so is the transport. I have a lovely driver who collects me and that makes things so much easier and pleasant.”

Barbara, who worked for Cadburys and the publishers of Haynes car manuals until retirement in her 60s, is also hoping to join a Re-engage tea party group soon.

Farhana Dalia, 22, who coordinates Barbara’s group, came to England from Bangladesh three years ago. Before that she had spent some years looking after her grandmother, who died recently aged 85. 

Farhana explained: “I want to help older people. I don’t want them to feel lonely. When you’re young you can easily socialise but it’s not so straightforward in later years. I know what it’s like because my grandmother often felt lonely.”

Farhana, who works in a care home, added: “The activity group is an enjoyable occasion. It allows the older people to come together and share their life stories. It’s something for them to look forward to.”

Volunteer Lisa McKeever, 52, is also setting up an activity group in Bristol, where nearly 20,000 older people live alone.

Lisa said: “I’m really looking forward to it. There's a great need for this kind of service in the area.”

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We have teams across the UK.


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0800 716543

Office phone:

020 7240 0630