Inspired Friendships was established in 2020 by Inspired Villages as a service to prevent older people living in the communities around an Inspired village from feeling isolated. Research by Age UK shows that 1.9 million older people feel isolated or ignored and we wanted to help combat this as part of our commitment to transforming the later life experience in this country.
Inspired Friendships facilitates events for older people, such as coffee mornings, lunch time meet ups, bus trips, and walks in the park. (Where Covid-19 safety precautions prevent these community events from taking place, members can still be supported with telephone befriending and a pen pal service.)
The Inspired Friendships team is made up of Wendy Pfeiffer and Diane Bromley who joined from Age UK Maidstone, where they ran a similar befriending service that Inspired Villages has supported in the past.
Currently the service is just focused on Kent, and will complement the offering of our seventh village Ledian Gardens, once that site is complete. The plan, however, is to roll the friendship service out further to all areas surrounding Inspired’s villages.
“Creating communities that help older people live healthier, independent lives for longer, is what Inspired Villages is all about. Helping alleviate loneliness and isolation, which can have serious mental and physical health implications, is key to that and why we feel so passionately about setting up Inspired Friendships.
“We were delighted to bring Wendy and Diane on board to launch Inspired Friendships. We feel very strongly that it is our duty to spread the sense of community fostered in our retirement villages further afield.”
Jamie Bunce, CEO, Inspired Villages
The Inspired 500 Mile Cycle Ride to combat loneliness
In September 2021, a team from Inspired Villages cycled 200 miles to help raise funds for Inspired Friendships. Covid-19 safety measures mean the final leg will be completed at a later date. The cycling team have raised over £3,000 so far and look forward to raising more when they complete the final 300 miles – watch this space!
If you’d like to donate, please click here.
“Wendy and Diane have been a lifeline to me during lockdown. They have sometimes come to see me, often bring a little gift, stood at a distance to chat. Other times they sent a communication, through the post. One of these was a verse accompanied by a wooden hug. This was a great comfort to me during the short time I spent in hospital.
All in all, it has been a great help during lockdown to have the friendship of Wendy and Diane knowing that if I just wanted to speak to somebody, I could ring them.”
Beryl Sutton, 92, Maidstone
“Although Inspired Friendship has only been going for only a short time it has been a godsend to me as I live alone. This was made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic which meant that I was not able to meet with other people in the same position due to the lockdown. Both Wendy and Diane were in contact with me every week making sure that I was OK. Not only that, I would have been able to ring them at any time if I had any problems. In short Inspired Villages was a life saver.”
Eric Roberts, 82, Maidstone