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Stafford and Rural Homes | You can never have too many friends!
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You can never have too many friends!

Friends Janet Finney, Mary Finney, Olive Mills and Audrey Baker say a project aimed at combatting loneliness has helped to give them a whole new outlook on life.

The over 60s are regulars at events staged as part of BeConnected, an initiative led by Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) in partnership with Stafford Borough Council.

The successful project has already helped dozens of people to get out and about and make new friends and Janet says she really enjoys the company.

The 74-year-old said a friend mentioned the project to her coming along to the events has really given her something to look forward to.

Meanwhile Mary, 66, says she has already made many new friends and the events, at various locations, provide a great excuse to get out of the house.

Retired factory worker, Olive Mills said the companionship she’s discovered through BeConnected extends well beyond the actual programme of events. Many of the people taking part stay in touch or meet up in between the events, , the 81-year-old explained.

BeConnected offers the chance to take part in a range of fun and free activities including arts, crafts, gardening and exercise classes but, most importantly, it provides an opportunity for people who would otherwise find themselves alone at home to make new friends and engage with the wider community, particularly those living in more isolated, rural areas.

Project co-ordinator, Susan Cooke, explained: “Loneliness can have a huge impact on both physical and mental health and this diverse programme of activities aims to help them take the first steps towards building a new network of friends.

“It’s also providing the ideal opportunity for volunteers with a few hours spare to help support their local community.”

Another fan of BeConnected is Audrey Baker, 76, who said the lunches and other activities are great, and you can never have too many friends!

Pictured: Friends Janet Finney, Mary Finney, Olive Mills and Audrey Baker enjoy a recent BeConnected event.

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