Whilst loneliness can be experienced by anyone at any stage of their life, it is often older people who find constant loneliness hardest to overcome and they lack the friendship and support we all need.
Lincoln City Foundation’s Extra Time Hub sessions are designed for those aged 55 and over and form part of a national project from the EFL Trust, with support from National Lottery funding from Sport England.
Extra Time Hubs are designed to engage retired and semi-retired people by harnessing the power of their local football clubs and to combat both loneliness and inactivity.
As part of National Loneliness Awareness Week, we want to highlight how one of our Extra Time Hub members, Barbara, has found the sessions to improve her life.
Barbara is a long-term resident of the Sincil Bank area and found out about the Extra Time Hub sessions from the Foundation’s Community Organiser, Joanna Okrasa, who approached her on the street. During a friendly conversation about the area, Barbara mentioned she felt there was not much to do for people her age, especially those who live alone. Joanna suggested she came along to the Extra Time Hub session on the following Wednesday morning and offered to meet her there. Barbara attended her first session has been coming every week since with a smile on her face and another story to share with others.
Barbara says; “I am really pleased I met Joanna because I didn’t know anything about this sort of thing. It’s a place to meet, come and talk about what you’ve been doing during the day or what you’ve got planned.”
“I’m really enjoying the sessions at the Extra Time Hub, meeting people that I haven’t seen for years, who I’ve gone to school with. First time I went, there was a man sat there and he recognised me. It was a fireman I used to work with. He was in the same situation as I was. We have loads and loads to talk about. You meet people who want to talk, they each have a story that they want to tell you and each story is different. I live alone, so it’s nice to have somewhere to come to, a place like this, where you can meet people like yourself, in the same situation. We do enjoy it. But I talk a lot so that’s probably why..!”
“I’d like to see a lot more people come to the Extra Time Hub. People that don’t come, they really want to think how nice it would be because it is a good place to meet people. I go on a Wednesday and I know I’ve helped somebody there. It’s an opportunity to share your problems too. It’s not just chatter, you can share things and be listened to. I recognise that. Not only that, off course, you do have some silly laughs. There are comical people there too. All makes it pleasurable.”
The Foundation’s face to face Extra Time Hub sessions remain paused at present during the Coronavirus outbreak, however members are keeping connected virtually through weekly online coffee mornings, via phone calls and through activity packs sent through the post.