The Bradbury community in lockdown... 'An oasis for the wellbeing of the elderly' Recognising that we could have been putting our day centre members at risk by bringing them into a social setting, in mid-March we took the difficult decision close our Bradbury Centre. Little did we know that 10 weeks later, we would still be unable to predict how long it would be before we can welcome our members and friends back through our doors. During lockdown we’ve been keeping in touch with Bradbury members and volunteers, making sure they are safe and well, providing both practical and emotional support as necessary. People have been writing to us with their tales of how they are coping with lockdown, and what they miss and value about The Bradbury. An oasis for the wellbeing of the elderly. I first learned about the Bradbury some 18 months ago. This was after an online search for activities and social clubs for the elderly in my local area. The search was prompted by a fear, at age 85, of becoming isolated. My husband had died 4 1/2 years previously and my circle of friends to socialise with was also shrinking, due to their deaths, reduced physical ability or caring responsibilities for a partner. Some were now just too distant to meet, with any regularity. I found at the Bradbury a really friendly social club and was welcomed as ‘family’. There was a small pleasant garden to sit in, a weekly programme of activities, exercise groups, an art club, cinema club , book club, computers to use etc. together with coffee and meals at reasonable cost. Twice a week a roast dinner could be ordered. Outings to theatre and places of interest were also on offer . This was a place where one could spend time with interesting company, engage in activities of choice and have a nourishing meal. Loneliness solved. Loneliness is a considerable problem for the old and there are MANY of us. The world about us is geared to couples and families. A single is, often, not even catered for! Somewhere like the Bradbury supplies a remedy for loneliness and therefore the wellbeing of those who in later life find themselves on their own and possibly compromised by reduced energy and failing health. There is a real need for support of the kind offered by, such as the Bradbury where help, company and interests are available. Without support of this kind the elderly will further and sooner burden Social Care, the NHS and Care Homes. For us alone, vulnerable and sometimes Sheltering group the ‘Lockdown’ has proved extremely difficult. There are many, long, really ‘down’ days. Doing everything alone, over time, is unsatisfying and miserable. The HORROR is that this is how everyday life, even out of Lockdown could become, as ones peer group and physical ability diminishes. We all need company to live healthily and keep sane. I miss the Bradbury enormously, just knowing it was there for me and others like me gave comfort and strength, promoting wellbeing. We have very great need for The Bradbury to become part of our lives again. Joy If you would like to help people like Joy, please consider making a donation to our loneliness appeal. All donations are gratefully received and go towards providing frontline services in our local community of Kingston upon Thames.