31 Jul 2023
Why were you referred to the Actively Involved service?
I was originally with the Involve carers team whilst I was caring for my husband. Sadly he passed away and I was then referred to the Actively Involved team.
How lonely or isolated did you feel before you were referred?
I was struggling daily to come to terms with the loss of my husband and I had become very isolated. My family live quite some distance away so I could go weeks without seeing anyone. It was a really dark time for me.
What kind of support have you received from the Actively Involved team?
My Wellbeing Support Worker, Peppa, listened to how I was feeling and how low I had become. I had joined a bereavement group and was not finding it helpful at all.
At first I was reluctant to consider attending any social group as my experience from the bereavement group had caused me to think ‘what’s the point?’
Peppa was very patient with me, and I didn’t feel pressured. She called me regularly and over time gently persuaded me to come along to a group with her.
I attended the local coffee morning with Peppa and although I was very nervous and apprehensive, Peppa reassured me and stayed with me at the group. The following week, I went along independently and was warmly greeted by everyone there. I have been attending for a year now and the impact the group has had on my mental health has been life changing for me. I have made so many friends there and we often meet up away from the group at each other’s homes.
Last year, Involve started an additional group in my area at a venue I had suggested. I have been attending that group since it started and I have taken on the role of greeting newcomers and welcoming them to the group as I remember how nervous I was in the beginning.
Additionally, along with a few a ladies at the groups, I have recently started Postural Stability Classes organised by Involve.
I have been on garden centre trips, visits to the coast, and had an amazing Christmas thanks to Involve and the party they arranged. I was dreading Christmas as it’s usually a very difficult time for me but last year was the first time in many years that I enjoyed it – thanks to Involve.
How has the support from the Actively Involved service affected your physical health and mental wellbeing?
I still find it difficult to express the impact that the support from Involve has had on me. I still get quite teary when I look back at how I was feeling before, I would go weeks without speaking to people and I didn’t feel I had many friends for support.
Now I feel like I have purpose. I have friends I can call if I am having a bad day, and people that care. I have become so much more physically active and I am now able to offer support to others that are going through a bad time, and give them hope.
I am constantly telling people about Involve and the difference they have made to my life, and the changes it makes to the people who come along to the groups every week.
How lonely and isolated do you feel now?
I don’t feel lonely anymore. I have some great friends that I see at the groups as well as meeting each other outside of the groups and we call each other regularly.
Both Peppa and Lin check in on me and I know I have the support there if I need it.
What do you think life would be like now if you hadn’t been in contact with Actively Involved?
I still miss my husband terribly, but before, I had no idea how I was going to create a new life and routine without him. I was just going through the motions, waiting to die so I could be with my husband again. I believe without Involve, I would have deteriorated both mentally and physically.