Support group for lonely men continues to grow
Date published: 08 May 2019
Photo: Maurice Tennick
Blokes at Hare Hill House support group
A support group for men suffering with loneliness started by a former policeman has been going from strength to strength since its inception.
Peter Reed, 72, of Littleborough began 'Blokes at Hare Hill House' in March after he realised through a Patient Participation Group – which allows patients to be involved with their GP practice – that there was a need to look after men who have become lonely or isolated.
A volunteer at Hare Hill House in Littleborough, Peter holds the group at the former manor house every Wednesday at 1.30pm.
Peter said: “As a member of a Patient Participation Group, I have become aware of the need for a facility to cater for men who have become lonely and isolated, because of many reasons, be it bereavement, retirement, unemployment, illness or stress.
“As a policeman, I was fully aware of the fact that not talking about this can lead to severe mental illness or even suicide. With my other hat on, I realised that Hare Hill House could be used as it is and intended to be a community facility where these men could meet.”
Funding was sourced by Nick Andrews and in their presentation, the name of the group came to Peter.
“I realised that the initials of the causes of many of the men becoming isolated near enough spelled out 'blokes' - hence Blokes at Hare Hill House,” he said.
Having been met with a handshake and a smile, attendees can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, cakes and biscuits over a game of dominoes, cards or darts.
Numbers attending have continued to rise in the weeks since the group began.
Peter continued: “It is much like an alcohol-free tap room of old: there is shuffling and rattling of dominoes, there is banter, there is laughter. We have Dot, our volunteer who helps with brewing up and washing up.
“Nick and I believe that, although there is obviously a need, the reason for the rapid success is not what we have done: it is what we have not done. The blokes attend because they want to. There is a warm welcome, no prying and no awkward questions.
“The most pleasant words to hear as they leave are ‘See you next week’ – and it’s our job done.”
Blokes at Hare Hill House meets every Wednesday at 1.30pm
Hare Hill House
Hare Hill Road
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