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Getting out and about with Silver Friends

To mark Time to Talk Day, we went out to meet our new Silver Friends group and find out more about how it’s helping bring people together.

“Sometimes you don’t think something will be for you, but I think you just have to give things a try and you’ll be surprised by how much you enjoy it.”

Those are the word of June, one of the 34 people who joined us for a free lunch, a cuppa (or two) and an afternoon of bingo at The Garden Farm Pub in Chester-le-Street as part of Silver Friends.

Silver Friends was set up thanks to funding from UK Government’s Know Your Neighbourhood Fund. Run by the team behind our Silver Talk friends on the phone service, Silver Friends is a community group hosting face-to-face events and activities for people aged 50+ in the north of County Durham.

 

Leanne Murray, who is our Silver Talk Community Volunteer Coordinator, has been organising events that give people aged 50+ the chance to get out to have meaningful interactions:

“Silver Friends is here to get people out of the house and pick them up. A lot of older people don’t necessarily have work or places to go to. They can go week to week without seeing anybody.

“Silver Friends gives people a chance to open up and have a laugh. They can meet new people and interact which is important for their mental health.”

The bingo event at The Garden Farm Pub has certainly gone down well with everyone who attended.

 

Andrea, Marion and Christine, all from Chester-le-Street, were having a great time:

“You’re able to get out of the house and escape the husband.

“It’s a nice atmosphere and it’s lovely to have a conversation with similar aged people. We would just be at home watching TV so this is much better. We love the bingo!”

 

June and Ann, who both live nearby, have also benefitted from the activities.

June said: “I do a lot of work in the house and I care for my sister and my grandson. I knew I needed to get out more and socialise. This was something I could do for myself. It gets me away from the day to day.”

Ann added: “With it being winter and colder, there isn’t as much to do. Silver Friends gives us a chance to get out and about. It’s really convenient and we get to have a nice walk over here. You get a nice cup of tea and the bingo is good for your mental capacity.”

Renne from Birtley ran into someone at another Silver Friends event she hadn’t seen in years:

“I met someone I used to work with 46 years ago. We ended up sitting next to each other and chatting away. It’s great to have social outings like this and meet people both old and new.”

 

Silver Friends also runs a monthly men’s group, which gives men aged 50+ the chance to come together for a free lunch and a friendly chat.

Leanne said: “The men’s group gives them a chance to open up a bit more. I have men attending the mixed group and they are full of jokes, character and life. But they feel more comfortable to be a bit more serious and talk about what’s going on with them and their families at the men’s group.

“I think men need the right environment to be more open and we provide them with a safe space to do this.”

Silver Friends is available for people aged 50+ living in the north of County Durham. If you would like to find out more and take part, you can join their Facebook page by searching for ‘Karbon Homes Silver Friends’. You can also get in touch by calling 0191 223 8662 or emailing silvertalk@karbonhomes.co.uk.

Leanne finished by saying:

“I can guarantee you’ll have a warm welcome and a least one of two laughs. You won’t just be sat in the corner by yourself. There’ll always be someone to talk to you.”

 

Time to Talk Day 2024

This years’ Time to Talk Day takes place on Thursday 1 February. It’s the nation’s biggest mental health conversation. Happening every year, it’s a day for friends, families, communities, and workplaces to come together to talk, listen and change lives.

Time to Talk Day 2024 will take place 1 February 2024. It’s run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and is being delivered in partnership with Co-op for the third year running. Across the UK, it’s delivered by See Me in Scotland, Inspire in Northern Ireland and Time to Change Wales

The more conversations we have, the better life is for everyone. Talking about mental health isn’t always easy and sometimes it’s even harder to say how you really feel. But a conversation has the power to change lives. 

Time to Talk Day is the perfect opportunity to start a conversation about mental health.

Find out more at timetotalkday.co.uk.

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