Gill extends hand of friendship to women who feel alone

Published on: 02 Oct 2017

A WOMEN'S friendship group is calling for new members to join its group and help end loneliness in the community.

The Bristol Community Friendship Club has more than 600 members and hosts events throughout the year that are suitable for ladies of all ages.

The main aim of the group is to connect people and to help foster new friendships for those who are feeling isolated.

"At different times in life we all feel loneliness," said Gill Flower, the group's founder. "For ladies especially, you bring up the children and they fly the nest later in life and suddenly there is this empty void."

Mrs Flower, from St George, explained that bereavement and retirement can also leave people lonely and without a sense of purpose. She highlighted that autumn and winter can be particularly hard as people often feel more isolated due to the poor weather and longer nights.

"The good thing is that when people join us everyone comes with the mind-set that they talk to each other because that is what everyone is there for.

"You'll be made very welcome; the first thing that you'll get is a hug, and I make sure that I introduce you to everyone and stay close to you so that everything goes well.

"There's no need to walk into any event alone - I can meet you outside or I can meet one to one for a cuppa so that you can get to know me."

The group's activities include bowling, skittles, singing, lunches, movie nights and much more. It is free to join; however members must pay for their own activities. Part of Mrs Flower's work with the group is to raise funds that are either given to charity or used to allow those that may be facing financial hardship to join in the group's activities. Plant sales, raffles and cross stitching have all been used to help raise money.

Mrs Flower started the group in 2016 having been touched by a TV show about loneliness.

"You've got to have things to do; you've got to have friends and a feeling of belonging. It's all about being part of the community and being part of something. It's really important for our wellbeing; everybody needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

"We've got the best lot of girls we've have ever had and they're constantly growing true friendships.

To find out more about the group, visit the Bristol Community Friendship Club Facebook page.

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