BY JAMES TWOMEY
A charity which cares for elderly people has created a social service to prevent them from loneliness and has connected more than 10,000 people.
Age UK Lambeth says it has been successfully reducing social isolation and loneliness in Lambeth with its MYsocial service over the past two-and-a-half years by organising social events.
One of the defining features of MYsocial is that all of its events have a host attending.
This encourages people to come along even if they don’t know anyone, as there will always be a friendly face to greet them and chat to.
Fadha Shinewi, who lives in Tulse Hill, has been a member of MYsocial for two years after she retired as a gynaecologist and found herself with more time to fill.
Fadha said: “I found that although I had lots of friends I often wanted to do different things to them so someone suggested I come along to a few events and I have loved it ever since.
“I like to do different things such as singing, dancing, walking and day trips which I get to do here.
“I think the dancing events are the best, but I’ve also been on great picnics and I love the Royal Albert Hall Christmas singing event.
“Oh and Meet the Firefighters was lots of fun, too.
“I want to feel like I’m not on my own, but I also want to be free to do what I want and I don’t need someone to hold my hand.
“MYsocial gives me the right balance of freedom and support to do fun things.”
Cecily Rainey, 30, also lives in Tulse Hill and has been a host for the past year.
Cecily said: “I wanted to volunteer in a more social role to provide practical help for people.
“It is a really flexible role that I can fit around work – the evenings and
weekends work well for me.
“Also, I really enjoy meeting people, making sure everyone knows each other and seeing everyone get along.
“The events are fun and enjoyable, it is rewarding and uplifting to do.
“This is such an important service and I enjoy being part of it.
“I’ve always just had lots of fun with everyone, I remember being dragged up to dance at the blues bar and loving it.
“I went to a picnic where everyone was sharing their food and their memories of their careers and lives before this.
“I just love meeting people I wouldn’t normally meet and seeing people loving life.”
There will be six new MYsocial neighbourhoods this autumn in north Lambeth, Stockwell and Oval, Brixton, Clapham, Norwood and Streatham.
To donate to Age UK Lambeth or enquire about the MYsocial service at www.ageuk.org.uk/lambeth
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