A new group is helping single Prestonians to connect.Advertisement
Single Friends United was launched on Facebook in November by Ste Walker, who saw a need to address social isolation among single people.
With help from fellow group leaders including Ashton-on-Ribble woman Vicki Harris, the group has grown to almost 500 members.
Vicki said: “In these difficult and isolating times, some people don’t have family or friends they can physically see. For many, social media is their only form of connection with the outside world.
“Our aim with the group was to create a positive, feel-good space where everyone can get involved – where we support each other, grow close and really care for one another.”
The group runs a series of themed days including Mental Health Mondays and Work It Wednesdays, where members can promote their own or a family member’s business.
Vicki said: “Some members regularly post photos or do live videos of their walks and activities. We have a member who has done some live DJ sets at the weekend, and members can send song requests to him.
“One of the most popular daily posts is when I ask everyone what they’re having for tea. We all like talking about food and some post pics of what they’re having.
“We also offer members the option of posting anonymously if they feel too shy to post, but they want to get some advice and support from others.”
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An associated Messenger group provides support for members who are getting fit, and regular Zoom calls give people the chance to socialise face-to-face.
Vicki said: “Anyone is welcome to join the Zooms. We usually do a quiz and share a drink together, and we have such a laugh.
“There are some newly-single people in the group and others who have been single for many years. Everyone can be involved in whatever way makes them happy.”
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Group member Kat said joining the group has stopped her from feeling lonely.
She said: “I moved to Preston in 2016 so I could be nearer to my son who was in residential schooling at the time. It was a move of 165 miles, and I found I lost friends and family because I had put myself and my son first.
“By joining the Single Friends United group I have managed to make and find new friends. Nobody judges, there is always someone who is prepared to help, and we make each other laugh if people are feeling down.
“The group has helped me to gain confidence in asking other members questions and to not be ashamed to ask for help, for example with shopping if I can’t get out.
“I don’t feel lonely and isolated anymore and that’s because of this group – it is a lifesaver for me.”
Today (Monday 15 February) is Singles Awareness Day, something Vicki believes is worth celebrating.
“I personally think Singles Awareness Day is brilliant. There is a lot of focus on people in relationships, but single people should also be celebrated.
“It gives single people the chance to announce to the world that we are single and happy to be so. It gives us a chance to tell other singletons how incredible they are and that it’s okay to be single.”
The group’s ultimate aim is to physically meet, and there are plans for days out, weekends away and even holidays once Covid-19 restrictions allow.
To join the group, visit Single Friends United on Facebook.
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Will you be joining the Single Friends United group? Let us know in the comments.