One Mum's Mission to End Loneliness
Loneliness affects 9 million people in the United Kingdom, 4 million of those people are elderly according to the Campaign to End Loneliness.
Claire Carson, mum of two found herself low-spirited after hearing the statistics of loneliness on Good Morning Britain. Carson, who has found morning playgroups with her children at Wallasey Village helpful in meeting other mums felt inspired to help those battling loneliness.
She started organising a morning get-together for her local community reaching out to Wallasey Village United Reformed Church, a focal point for the community. The church was more than happy to host as the venue for Claire’s Friends of Wallasey group and even mentioned it was on their to do list for the new year.
“The biggest challenge in the beginning was getting the word out there. I was prepared to sit alone for the first meeting and I didn’t know how much food to prepare” said Claire. Luckily for her 25 people attended the first Friends of Wallasey group meeting on Tuesday 6th of February.
Week one of Friends of Wallasey
“Free coffee, tea, cake, toast, and lots of friendly faces” is what the group sets to offer but Claire states members’ testimonials include helping people with depression, gaining confidence, making friends and confiding in them.
“Impact is bigger than I could have ever imagined” said Claire.
Friends of Wallasey is now at 40 guests per week and they have a day trip planned to North Wales the 12th of June. Trips and group activities have been a goal of Claire’s since the beginning and she hopes in the future they can plan overnight stays and go on theatre trips.
“I want to fill their social calendars because people don’t want to go to places on their own” states Claire.
Her biggest challenge and goal is expanding the group to other cities, towns, and communities. She’s found that a lot of people do not want to commit to creating and hosting a weekly group, but she deeply believes they make a difference. Claire has single-handedly seen the impact it has made within her community, so she recently started Friends of Moreton.
Friends of Moreton meets on Thursday mornings and attendees are increasing per week. “I never want to be in the position to be lonely, all you need is a bit of time to make the effort to help those who are” says Claire.
Life can be very busy at times but taking a moment to speak to someone or even smile at them can make a positive impact on that person’s day.
Other ways to get involved include spreading awareness on social media and volunteering with charities that help tackle loneliness. You can even volunteer with Friends of Wallasey/Moreton!
For those inspired to start their own Friends of __ Claire is willing to sponsor you through her lettings agency Levara Properties. She recommends to first find a venue, perhaps your local church as they are most likely to partner with you and maybe provide a discount.
If you start your own group, make sure to let us know!
For more information on loneliness click here >>
Check out Friends of Wallasey here>>