I arrived in the Torbay area early April 2015. I moved down here from the Highlands of Scotland. I was a retired inshore fisherman of 68 years of age. I did not know anyone and found it difficult to make friends with anyone of my own age. I became very lonely and depressed. Having suffered with depression for most of my life, I did not want to go back on to medication having been off it for three years. I tried talking to people but found little in common with them. This made communication very difficult for me. I found my situation very frustrating.
I almost lost the will to live when I decided to have one last try at fitting in. I went to the local library and broke down in tears. Through my snivelling, I said I was very lonely and had no friends. I explained that I had moved here seven months earlier and was finding it difficult to make friends. The lady was very sympathetic and said try this. She handed me a magazine, pointing to an article under the heading “Ageing well in Torbay”, she said give them a call.
When I got home I called the phone number of the article. The chap on the other end said “Hi I’m Sean how can I help.” I did not know where to begin. I told him a little bit about me and my situation. He said he would come to see me that evening with a colleague who lives fairly close to me. That evening Sean turned up with his colleague Nick who was involved in “we love Melville hill community group”. We had a chat about my situation and what and where I had been living in the past. They asked if I would like to get involved with community projects. I would have snapped their hands off for half a chance, I was that desperate. They invited me to a community meeting. I sat there quiet and listened to what was going on in my area. I was quite intrigued. A few days later I saw Nick again and we chatted. I now felt things were now looking promising. After another couple of weeks passed and Nick asked me if I would help and look after two plant beds. I said I would love to.
I tended the plants all through the summer and the plants were looking well, even if I say so myself. This gave me a sense of purpose. Other people commented on how nice they were looking and this gave me great encouragement. I have volunteered for many things in my community and now have many friends. I also attended many more community council community meetings, but I have become much more vocal. In less than a year “Aging well in Torbay” and “we love Melville hill community group” and in particular Sean and Nick have turned my life around. I am now feeling very much part of my community and dread to think had I not have made contact with “Aging well in Torbay” and “we love Melville hill community group” where would I be today? It has turned out to be a very happy situation for me. It could have been a tragic situation had it not been for the intervention of “Aging well in Torbay” and “we love Melville hill community group” and particularly two great guys who supported a complete stranger. They have given me the opportunity to retire happily and gracefully. Thank you guys.
Community Builder, Nina met Glynis through the 6 year, Big Lottery funded programme, Ageing Well Torbay. Glynis is 74 years old and lives in Paignton. She had to stop driving due to arthritis in her hands and there is no public transport where she lives.
“When you start to get older you don’t have the ability to get around like you used to when you were younger so you do get more isolated.”
Over time Glynis had become isolated from her local community, not seeing people, having hobbies but losing interest as she had no one to talk to or share them with.
“I used to spend endless hours watching the world go by through the window. And now I feel I’m part of it.”
Glynis met Nina, an Ageing Well Community Builder.
“When she told me what they did, I thought this is incredible… It’s kick started my life again.”
Glynis is now active in her community again. She regularly volunteers in the local pop up cafe and made a great contribution to the launch of Ageing Well Torbay by sharing her hobby of paper quilling at the 2015 Ageing Well Festival.
Watch our short film about Ageing Well in Torbay here: