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Reducing isolation - Torbay, Devon

Having been isolated in her flat for several months after a knee and ankle operation, one visit to a local event in Torbay saw Sanctuary tenant Robbie discover new opportunities, resulting in her turning her life around within a week.

Robbie had minimal mobility and a loss of confidence but a visit to Ageing Well Share Skill Festival saw her meet a representative from Blatchcombe Community Organising who introduced her to the idea of volunteering.

Having offered to teach people to knit, Robbie made a new friend called Sheila who visited her flat every week and successfully completed a jumper.

The pair’s friendship has grown, seeing them attend an upcycling project from which their furniture was displayed at the seventh International United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Global Geopark Conference in Torquay in September 2016, enjoyed by 700 international delegates.

Robbie joined the Management Committee at the Crafty Fox Café n Hub, a project based at the old Sanctuary Housing office on Foxhole Road, to support the creation of a community space, offering everything from a cup of tea to employment advice. She also managed to secure funding from the local Co-op.

On top of everything else, Robbie is engaging well with the local community and has managed to encourage a local lady, who had become isolated following the death of her mother, to join in with several projects and groups and she now has many new friends and social opportunities.