‘They changed my life’ – the role Age UK Suffolk played for so many

Eileen Howe, from Kesgrave, said the services of Age UK Suffolk changed her life Picture: OLIVER SU

Eileen Howe, from Kesgrave, said the services of Age UK Suffolk changed her life Picture: OLIVER SULLIVAN - Credit: OLIVER SULLIVAN

A series of monthly meet-ups arranged by Age UK Suffolk ‘changed the lives of so many’, a woman experiencing loneliness has said.

Eileen Howe, 72, who moved to Suffolk with her husband eight years ago, said she spent her first six years in the county feeling alone before receiving an invite to the monthly Pop Up Chinwag at Kesgrave Community Centre.

The sessions grew over the years, having started with 10 people before it reached its peak of 98 earlier this year – but Mrs Howe said the meet-ups were so much more than an excuse to have a chat.

The meet-ups will no longer continue however, after Age UK Suffolk announced it will be ceasing operations from next Friday due to financial difficulties exacerbated by coronavirus.

MORE: Age UK Suffolk to close – 143 jobs will be lost

Mrs Howe said: “It really did change my life. It helped me be able to go out into the world and make new friends – I even ended up going on holiday to Spain with my friend Gerri.

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“Everyone who worked for them, from the staff to the volunteers, they all worked so hard and did everything they could to help us and make people’s lives better.”

Mrs Howe, originally from Frinton-on-Sea in Essex, said her and her friends hope to continue meeting up after coronavirus restrictions are eased, but added it will not be the same without the care and support provided by the charity.

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She said: “We sometimes see each other when we go to Tesco and it is so nice just to have an excuse to say hello to someone again. I really will miss it if we can’t meet up again, but hopefully we will find a way.

“The whole thing is just so sad, the charity changed the lives of so many.”

MORE: Stark warning more charities will collapse due to coronavirus

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