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Lonely disabled man turns to charity for support


A disabled man has shared how lonely he feels to a national charity after turning to them for support.

Graham’s story will be familiar to thousands of others, he struggled through lockdown, was forced to make personal sacrifices and has been hit by the cost of living crisis.

Out of desperation he turned to the British Red Cross, asking if they could offer support through a difficult time, he was also experiencing chronic loneliness.

It’s an area the charity knows about only too well, their Lonely and left behind study showed 35% of adults across the UK are worried about feeling lonely, especially disabled people.

“I was desperate for help. I’d just had surgery and was pretty disorientated. I was at a low ebb,” Graham told the charity.

Discharged from kidney surgery a day before the first national lockdown in March 2020 and left partially disabled following a stroke it was a tough time for Graham, he had no food in the house and no access to local shops.

He turned to the British Red Cross for help who put him in touch with Debbie and Donna from the charity’s independent living service.

“They answered my call for help, like avenging angels!” Graham said. “They went food shopping for me and helped me get everything sorted out at home. I can’t sing their praises enough.”

But as lockdown progressed, Graham started to feel extremely lonely, despite organising a carer to assist him with practical needs.

“My life was already a bit limited,” he said, “but in lockdown it got even worse. It’s hard work and pretty boring."

Before suffering a stroke Graham worked for the Tall Ships Youth Trust where he captained a 70-foot ocean-going yacht, but lockdown put a stop to the voyages.

Living alone through the pandemic was a challenge, but thanks to the British Red Cross he now had someone to talk to.

“I’ve phoned a few times,” he explained. “It’s really nice to have a chat to someone while you’re stuck at home.

"Knowing someone is there at the end of the phone makes me feel less isolated. It’s really helped me cope with the lockdown.”

[ The British Red Cross was launched on 4th August 1870 when it was known as the British National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War ]

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