Who fancies taking a trip to the cinema, or the theatre or even to the bingo or a quiz night? Perhaps having a dance, hitting the shops or venturing out on a day trip sounds like fun to you?
Although these activities sound like great fun, many women have very few people they can ask to join them and may not find the thought of embarking out alone appealing.
To several women the Dumfries Get Together, which is a ladies social group located in the Dumfries and Galloway area, is the solution to their isolation. The group encourages social inclusion by organising friendly gatherings, adventures and activities for ladies, who are interested in meeting new people, increasing social skills, building new friendships and having fun by taking part in a range of activities All ladies who are aged 35-100 are more than welcome to join the friendship group.
Shirley shared the difference the group makes to her life: “As I live alone with no close family I can feel very isolated. The Dumfries Get Together Group, with all its activities enables me to get out and do things I wouldn’t do alone, with the opportunity to join with others and feel part of the group.”
The WFS decided to support the Dumfries Get Together group in 2015 by contributing to the costs of a team-building holiday to the Lake District. As the cost of the trip was subsidised by the WFS, members could attend the trip without financial implications and members who otherwise may not have been able to afford the trip could manage the reduced cost. The holiday was a refreshing break for all the ladies as many members are single, widowed, retired or disabled. The trip was a form of escapism for several of the members who confront various challenges on a daily basis and are rurally isolated. The holiday exceeded all expectations with each member fully reaping the benefits and creating unforgettable memories. The holiday helped to improve the general health and well-being of those who took part, boosted confidence levels, reduced social isolation by providing women with a network of support and friendship.
“The break recharged our batteries ready to return home and face our various challenges” added Annie.
“I am always apprehensive about committing to breaks away due to cost. I am so grateful to everyone who made this weekend possible and affordable” expressed Evelyn.
“I am classed as disabled and had become very depressed. Joining this group has made me more active and I have now made some really good friends. I would never have been able to afford the cost of the trip without this funding. It has made a big difference to my life” revealed Janice.
The trip allowed the ladies to overcome fears and complete challenges with the support and encouragement from other members of the group.
“I have conquered my fear of heights by completing an Aerial Trekking course and tried mountain biking for the first time” Karen revealed.
“The weekend allowed me to spend time with people that I now class as friends. We shared laughter, fun, and I challenged myself – all thanks to the Womens Fund for Scotland” expressed Coral.
The ladies all accomplished new challenges and further improved their social skills during the holiday. The confidence boost has meant the ladies now feel more comfortable and willing to attend more group activities, which reduces social exclusion and loneliness. The trip paved the way for new bonds to form, which continue to strengthen long after the trip.
“I live alone and although I did not know several of the other group members before the weekend we have had lots of laughs and never stopped talking. Lovely walks and food and company. I had not danced for a long time before the break” shared Evelynn.
Mags shared her appreciation by stating: “I laughed all weekend and the experience really boosted my confidence”.
Loneliness has a detrimental effect on an individual’s well-being. The feeling of isolation can be suffocating as you are surrounded only by the quiet. You begin to feel overwhelmed by the emptiness and drained of energy. The Women’s Fund for Scotland (WFS) believes no one deserves to feel isolated from their community. The WFS actively works to ensure all women have opportunities to socialise, form relationships with those in a similar situation or who share a common interest. The WFS are passionate about reducing social isolation amongst women through building skills and confidence and building social networks.
The Dumfries Get Together Group successfully reduces the feeling of loneliness amongst ladies in the community by organising various activities and sociable events that allow for friendships to be built. The Women’s Fund for Scotland is proud to support the group.
If you’d like to know more about making a donation to support organisations like the Dumfries Get Together group, through the Women’s Fund for Scotland please get in touch with Shona Blakeley, Development Manager by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0131 524 0353.