We’re Friendship Network and we help older people when they’re feeling lonely or isolated to make new friends and share their stories, and their lives. That’s because we believe everyone should be able to lead full lives with the social support they need.
Loneliness is a serious issue: TV is the main companion for the majority of older people in the UK and over 800,000 say they feel lonely all of most of the time. With local cuts for befriending schemes in Islington, there are more older people than ever feeling lonely and looking for support. Overcoming loneliness can seem like an impossible challenge.
In Islington, Margaret’s, 78, situation is surprisingly common:
My husband passed a few years back, so I’m living alone. With the arthritis in my knees, I’m struggling to get out the house. I do see a few people daily: my neighbour, the shop assistant on the corner, and my carer who comes for half an hour. She’s so busy though that we barely get a chance to talk – she has a job to do, and nowhere near enough time to do it!
What we do
We answer the call of older people experiencing loneliness, inviting them to become members of our friendship network where they can meet new people and make new friends. We run activities like telephone and in-person befriending, social events and our Computer Support Network for older people, ensuring all our members can lead a full life with the support they’re looking for.
The difference we make
Our members feel more positive after joining. In the last year, we’ve:
1. Expanded 50 older people’s social networks
2. Generated over 3,000 hours of happy memories
3. More than doubled each older person’s social contact!