“However, I can definitely see the effects lockdown has had, and it reinforces what an important project Love4Life is and the difference we make. Our members are struggling a bit with socialising again. After being indoors for so long it can feel really overwhelming to suddenly be talking to so many people.
“Some members have experienced longer periods of isolation due to living independently and having no support. Others have struggled with their mental health, especially anxiety because of the pandemic and the overload of ever changing guidelines.
“Because of this, Love4Life coordinator Cader and I are holding a ‘conversation starters’ workshop to help people prepare for the social events.
“A lot of Love4Life members don’t have anybody else and have been quite lonely over lockdown, so we couldn’t be happier to hold face-to-face events again. Luke moved out independently during lockdown and when he came to a recent event, everyone was giving him advice and being so supportive, it was so lovely to see. It makes you realise what they have all have missed out on over the past five months.”
Love4Life member Ian said: “It has been nice to meet up with everyone again after such a long time. I am looking forward to meeting with everyone again soon.”
Another member Nicola said: “I’m just glad that we are able to meet up together as a group, as the lockdown made us feel down, not being able to see everyone. It was tough to get through the five months. We were really looking forward to getting things up and running again and then the best thing happened to me, I finally got the honour of meeting some of the Love4Life members at Fareham Leisure Centre. It was great fun and I’m really looking forward to when we meet up again.”
Hayley continued: “Love4Life has also been fortunate enough to welcome eight new members during lockdown, and one new member Paul came to our Basingstoke walk. Everyone was so welcoming and he had a great time, we can’t wait to see even more of our new members at events coming up.
“Although our face-to-face events have been long-awaited, we are keeping some events online. For instance, we found that our cooking tutorials worked really well because it is easier for people to learn how to cook in their own kitchens with their own utensils. Sometimes it can be challenging transferring what you learn outside of your home into your own kitchen. We will also be holding some of our skills workshops online with the option to have them face-to-face too.
“It’s an exciting time for Love4Life, we can’t wait to hold more events and see even more of our members socialising again.”