As the winter season fast approaches it is a good time to think about our neighbours within our community.
Loneliness is an ongoing problem in our communities and it is important to look out for and consider those who may be lonely near you. Do you have an elderly or isolated neighbour who would welcome a knock on the door, a friendly chat, an offer of some shopping? Often when we get to know our neighbours we can signpost them to support that is in the community such as their local church, community centres, village halls and of course their Village Agent.
Do you know neighbours who are struggling to manage caring for their loved one? They can refer themselves to the Somerset Carers Service where a Carers Agent can visit them in the privacy of their own home and support them in their role as a carer, sometimes people don’t realise they are a carer and so a gentle reminder of the support they are giving to their loved one and how they can get help with this is a positive to enable them to continue in their role but also looking after themselves. The Somerset Carers Service has a dedicated Freephone helpline that anyone can call Monday to Friday during office hours – 0800 31 68 600 – www.somersetcarers.org.
If you are feeling isolated try to get involved in what is available locally in your community especially as Christmas approaches and extra events are happening, that way you can build relationships and support within your community into the future. Do try to attend your local village fetes to get in the Christmas spirit and to see all your neighbours. Most villages have social groups and coffee mornings that have a festive flair. Queen Camel invite their school children to the December coffee morning to sing carols which is quite enchanting.
Check your parish magazine, parish notice board or local event face book sites like What’s on Somerset and Somerset Live. Radio Somerset also have a What’s on section in the mornings to tune into. Contact me to find out who is your local Village Agent for support and information about what is happening in your area.
Some of these are in full swing, traditions like the Ilminster Victorian evening and the lighting up of Montacute house. These do not need to cost much as you can go and soak up the atmosphere without an entry cost. Late night shopping in Taunton and Yeovil is also rather festive and not so busy as a Saturday!
Don’ t forget to look out for the Talking Café’s in Langport Angel and Chard Baptist Church on a Monday morning from 10am. These are a good place to come and chat, especially if Christmas brings mixed or painful emotions. You are guaranteed to meet one of our team with a kind face, a smile and time to chat. We have a free taster relaxation techniques session booked at the Angel on 17th December and all are welcome. Some social groups are also offering a Christmas lunch, so do ask at your village coffee morning or Church to find out about anything near you.
Join a social group such as an older person’s lunch group, an art group, WI or bowling in your village, or the Working Men’s club for a lower priced community evening that will stretch on long after the festivities have finished. The Crewkerne “Go Out Club” meet monthly, phone Shirley Brown 07548368312 and try your local Men’s Shed in South Petherton, Yeovil and Wincanton. Perhaps make the Surgery Health Walk part of your new year’s resolutions. Village Agents can support you in finding out about your local events and finding a way to attend these.