MICKLEGATE WARD:BATTLING LONELINESS

Micklegate Ward committee provided funds for us back in February to bring together citizens of the Ward. Here’s local resident and participant India with her experience:

“It’s not just older people in our neighbourhood who feel lonely. A lot of people my age too find it hard to connect. I’m lucky. I put my phone away whenever I get home and I know what it’s like to actually talk to people. A lot of my peers don’t, however. And reports of Mental Health and solitude are on the rise for both older people and younger people. That’s why I thought this project was so exciting.
We started at Southlands Methodist Church. In case you haven’t been on a Thursday morning, they do this wonderful Planet Food, where you just rock up, pay what you want for food that would normally be thrown out as waste, and sit and chat with local residents. We made loads of friends. As Harry said, at the very least it was a break away from the cold!
This experience led to next week’s Internet Meeting at St Clements Church just down the road. Tony and Liz make the place such a great place to relax, especially Wednesdays. We all shared what our favourite books were.
The next chapter was with Pop Up Art Space at Teajuana’s Cafe. The owner had just been on BBC, so he was buzzing!  We talked about Art and some of the best exhibitions we had been to.
The next chapter was at Reading Cafe at Rowntrees Cafe. Again we talked about Art and we brought some art materials with us for the Pop Up Art Space project. We stayed at Reading cafe for a few sessions and were joined by 7 more older friends, including Petra, Carlotta, Derek, Charlie, Teresa, Neil and Lauren. Most of us had never been to Reading Cafe before and we will definitely continue to come.
We were given the keys to Art Space and let ourselves in whenever we wanted and worked on a communal canvas. It was good to see it in the front window. We were made very welcome at another local church English Martyrs to share what we had just found in the previous 4 weeks. The parishioners were lovely and loved watching some of us dance! They were very interested in our discussions about TV such as ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Womens World Cup.’
What can I say, we made loads of friends. Some of us want to volunteer with Southlands Planet Food, some of us want to help with the Summer Fair at St Clements, some of us still meet at Rowntrees Reading Cafe. Harry especially likes it there. I love the Granola at Teajuana.
Mostly though we loved each others stories. We talked about films, books, TV shows, and we painted our response to it. It was an excellent project and I’m really grateful to New Visuality for the opportunity to make some more friends at ta time when every one my age is stuck to their devices.
India, age 16, Micklegate Ward, June 2019
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