Saturday is the International Day of Friendship. To celebrate, we spoke to WHA tenant Angela Highton about her experience of making new friends through our over 50s centre LifeTime.
Former administrator and social care worker Angela moved to Warrington from Suffolk two years ago to be closer to family due to ill health.
She now lives in Epsom Gardens on a shared ownership scheme with Warrington Housing Association, something that would have been impossible in her previous location.
Arriving in the pandemic, Angela found the combination of poor health and lockdown left her isolated.
Angela, 65, said: “Although the WHA coordinator kept in on constant contact, I was unable to go out and meet any new people. I didn’t want to impinge on my sister’s social life too much, I wanted to develop my own friendships.”
LifeTime is WHA’s over 50s centre at the Gateway in the centre of Warrington. As well as being a social hub, it is home to many groups and classes each week. LifeTime organising events, trips and activities elsewhere in the borough.
Angela said: “I had hoped to take a writing course at college but it was cancelled because of covid. Kath, our WHA coordinator, had just been on secondment to LifeTime and suggested I came along to the poetry group there.
“I thought it might be a bit staid or over my head as I didn’t have any experience. But Terry who runs the group was so encouraging and humorous. It was the first time I had laughed in a long time.
“LifeTime has brightened up my brain and elevated my spirit! The homework from my poetry class makes me look at things differently. Sometimes I stay for the quiz after the class. There is another writing group I fancy too.
“I look forward to going – I meet other people who may not even be in my group. You are accepted for who you are, you can go on your own and not feel conspicuous. People drop in for a cup of tea and chat even when they aren’t there for an activity.
“Neighbours have seen how cheerful it makes me. I have become friends with one, Irene, and now we get a taxi to LifeTime together.
“It is an amazing way to meet people without any pressure. You already know you have a shared interest. There is something for everyone from Ba Juan and Tai Chi to singing. And it is so cheap! Where else could you spend half a day with lovely people for £2 or even free!”
Whether you are in your fifties, sixties, seventies or eighties and above, LifeTime offers activities, friendship, social events, advice, training, and if you have a health issue, introduce you to the right information and support. Find out more.