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New friends, new skills

Louth Men’s Shed is just one example of a project helping people make friends and learn new skills.

Established in 2015, it provides a workshop space for woodworking and other interests. Already, there are 20 ‘Shedders’ aged between 21 and 87, and the group is hoping to expand to over 50.

A registered charity, the group has made planters, bird feeders and furniture for schools, businesses and the local church. In return, the community has donated materials and tools, and money raised helps keep the Shed going.

Greg Gilbert, founder of the group, said: “All men over 18 are welcome - even if you just come for a cup of tea. We’re starting to expand the activities to include gardening and metalwork, and are always open to ideas.”

Earl Warrilow, 39, said the Shed was a lifeline when nerve damage in his arms meant he had to stop working. “I’m limited as to how much I can do, but I built our website and volunteer here regularly. If I wasn’t here, I’d be staring at the walls at home.”

Mark Fayers, 56, who lost his wife to cancer last year, said: “Coming here gets me out of the house, and I’ve made some good friends.”

Overcoming loneliness

A rural lifestyle and age can contribute to social isolation - but there are ways we can all try and lessen it

Living in a rural community may seem idyllic, and many people enjoy the countryside lifestyle.

But issues such as distance from friends and support services can also lead to poor mental health and increase the chance of social isolation.

Age can be another factor, particularly in Lincolnshire, where around 160,000 residents are over 65. Of those, it’s estimated that between 8,000 (5%) and 25,500 (16%) are lonely, while a further 19,200 feel isolated.

Younger age groups are also affected, and levels of severe loneliness are actually highest amongst those aged under 25 or the over-55s.

Wherever you live, and whatever your age, research has found that some things are particularly associated with loneliness. They include poor health, being widowed or living alone.

As well as causing you to feel isolated, your physical and mental health can be affected by loneliness, with links to high blood pressure and depression.

Now Lincolnshire County Council is looking at the best ways of helping residents to overcome loneliness at different stages of life, and which areas of thecounty may need additional support.

TOP TIPS

Join an interest group - from faith groups to walking groups, coffee mornings to community choirs, interest groups can help you meet people and get out.

Volunteering - there are lots of opportunities for volunteering in Lincolnshire, and you’ll know you’re helping others.

Befriending - various charities run befriending services that will come to you if transport or health mean you can’t get out and about.

Talking - don’t be afraid to tell people how you’re feeling. If loneliness means you feel low or depressed, talk to your GP in the first instance about getting some help.

 

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Last updated: 11 August 2017

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