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My colleague Vicky last blogged for Co-op about how she went from experiencing loneliness to helping others tackle loneliness in their own lives with the British Red Cross as a Community Connector.
I’m a fellow Community Connector, one of many in 39 locations across the UK, funded through the millions raised by Co-op Members, colleagues and customers as part of our Charity Partnership campaign.
I felt I had no one to talk to
I come from a big family with eight brothers and sisters, and although they were around, I was often lonely.
After a traumatic birth with my second child I needed major surgery. My baby and I recovered, but the experience left me with anxiety.
The doctor suggested counselling for the trauma, but there wasn’t anything available for six months. I felt I had no one to talk to. So I carried on with caring for my children, living in a bubble and got on with life, as you do.
I’m proud to be supporting others
I turned to self-help to feel better and when the role of Community Connector came up when I was looking for work in my local area, I truly felt it was my calling. I’m part of a team of volunteers and staff in Oldham, working to help people overcome loneliness and social isolation.
The first person I met when working as a Community Connector was a 91 year old who has had such an interesting life. We talked about places he’d travelled, and his love of history, and he said he loves a curry, so we’ll probably explore making one together! He doesn’t want to go out just yet, but that’s absolutely fine, everyone has different needs. We’ll set small goals and work together to achieve them.
I’m proud to be supporting this man as well as others experiencing loneliness. Young new mums, people with health and mobility issues, people who have been bereaved – loneliness can affect anyone at any time.
For more information about how Co-op is tackling loneliness see coop.co.uk/loneliness.
If you are experiencing loneliness you can reach out for support from the British Red Cross. And if you would like to volunteer to support the community connector services and tackle loneliness you can find out more information at the British Red Cross website.
Read more on how we’re tackling loneliness;
- Government announces new Ministerial lead for loneliness in response to our calls for action
- We’re calling on the government to make changes to tackle loneliness
- Loneliness costs employers £2.5 billion a year