ActivLives is a local independent charity working in Ipswich and across Suffolk to keep people active, connected and involved with their local community through accessible sports and exercise, learning new skills and volunteering opportunities. Here, a volunteer shares their story.
To read how volunteering at ActivLives transformed their experience of the pandemic, either see the image below or scroll to read a full-text version.
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Full text version:
2020 was a tough time for all of us and living alone through the lockdown was a challenging time to say the least. Before Covid hit, I was very active. Alongside socialising with friends and family, I filled my time going to different groups including two local community choirs, ActivSingers and Music in our Bones.
During the initial lockdown, I filled my days catching up with DIY around the house and chatting with friends on the phone. However, after a long period of isolation, I started to feel very unmotivated and depressed. Although I had support from friends and family, it was not the same as having my own freedom.
Over time, certain restrictions started to lift. However, not all the groups resumed, and some friends were still too vulnerable to meet. I was asked if I would like to go along to the Elderflower Hub which was about to resume on a Thursday. I would normally have attended a singing group on this day; however, as that group had not re-opened, I jumped at the chance of having something to look forward to and getting some kind of social life back on track.
Although the hub was still restricted in some areas, it was great to just have something to look forward to and reunite with old friends. I enjoyed the activities and exercising together in a group, meeting old friends and making new.
One week the facilitator was down a volunteer, and I was asked if I could step into help. I was soon taking the door money, making tea and coffee for the members and helping to clean the room before and after the session. This then became a weekly permanent position, and to the present day, gives me something to look forward to.
All in all, through the difficult times, the Elderflower Hub has kept me sane, kept me busy and helped me to feel useful again.