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Despite the discussion around mental health being widely encouraged, 1 in 10 men revealed that they didn’t want to admit feelings of loneliness to anyone despite nearly 3 million men nationwide claiming that they feel lonely on a daily basis.
In the borough of Merton, 33% of people over the age of 65 live alone and it’s forecast that this number is set to rise to 46% by 2025. While men make up a significant percentage of the population living alone in the borough, only 30% of those attending events and activities at Wimbledon guild last year were male. In the face of this, the Guild is launching a new campaign this month targeting older people in need of companionship, financial support or just hoping to engage more with the neighbouring community.
Wendy Pridmore, CEO at Wimbledon Guild comments; “We have been aware for some time now that local women are better at utilising the extensive range of free and subsidised services available to the community here at Wimbledon Guild – from our café to exercise classes to our varied trips and outings, art, bridge and drop-in IT workshops. Yet men are more reluctant to come forward. We have lots of activities here that could appeal to men, and we are hoping that by launching our first-ever advertising campaign, we will signpost and highlight the range that is available – there really is something for everyone!”
As well as offering a packed timetable of events, outings and classes the charity supports the community in times of crises and strives to prevent critical situations whenever possible via grants, talking therapies and group support services. The charity also provides small Grants for constituents in financial need and works to help combat social isolation amongst older people through a ‘Befriending’ Programme and Home Food Cafe.
Classes at the Guild range from lessons in technology taught by local students, to tap dance and tai chi. Every Friday, ‘Men’s Space’ is a place to socialise, share the news, your views, interests and stories. Last year, Wimbledon Guild worked with over 2,000 individuals from across the borough.
The new advertising campaign aims to reach not only those affected by the loneliness epidemic but also carers, neighbours, GPs, family and friends who might be worried or know of someone who could benefit from the services available.
Real-life testimonies of both men and women who use Wimbledon Guild will be found on local bus exteriors, underground stations, across local press and social media platforms during the month of September and October.
79 years old Michael has taught modern languages at both Wimbledon College and The University of Westminster. The now retired Russian and Spanish teacher and lecturer, has been living in the Borough of Merton with his wife for over 42 years.
Now, sadly suffering from poor sight and hearing difficulties, as well as living with diabetes, one of Michael’s carers suggested that he visit Wimbledon Guild for companionship.
Every week, he attends one of the Monday morning exercise classes run by Christina, as well as the ‘Friday Men’s Club’. The Club, held in one of the Guilds informal sitting rooms, is run and attended by men only. Here, they chat over the papers, play cards or scrabble, and generally just enjoy each other’s company over a cup of coffee. Some of the men then walk across to the home-food café for lunch.
Michael says; “Sadly, a lot of my family live abroad in North America, so I started coming to the Guild to make new friends and get out of the house. I’m really positive about it – I feel really safe and supported in the exercise classes – there is always someone on hand to help me. Men tend to be more complacent about coming out and taking part in activities, but I really enjoy the company here – especially at the Men’s Club on Friday mornings. It gives me something to look forward to.”
For more information about Wimbledon Guild and what it has to offer call 020 8946 0735 or visit www.wimbledonguild.co.uk