The Touch to See (T2C) Book Club Project works with so many wonderful beneficiaries from all backgrounds, religions, ages and gender. Some members have had no sight since birth, others have lost it later in life. They have all mentioned that, at some point, they have found it difficult to meet people due to access issues, lack of confidence and support. Age UK states that 1 million people will go a month without speaking to anyone. We are working to reduce that statistic.
Loneliness and social isolation are quite different. Social isolation is when someone lacks the opportunity for social contact. Loneliness is when a person is not part of a social network. Living Paintings T2C Book Clubs tackle both isolation and loneliness. The Book Club resources stimulate conversation, stir memories, allow people to talk and encourage people to take up interests. Because of this they are an ideal catalyst for developing social networks and giving people a purpose. We encourage members to take ownership of the Club, giving them a sense of belonging and self-worth. We support Clubs to create a welcoming and friendly environment. This, we believe, provides the best surroundings for people to feel safe and grow in confidence. This in turn reduces their isolation and loneliness.
All our beneficiaries have a story to tell. Here are just a few, to show you the impact our Book Clubs have:
“For me, it’s a life saver. I have lost all my family and loved ones in my life. I am all on my own. I need to get out and be around people. Without these groups I would be very lonely. I do as many groups as I possibly can so that I have a reason to get out there in the community. By coming to these clubs it makes me feel more confident, definitely. Much happier! It really is something to look forward to every week. You know you are going to see people and you are all friends. It’s my family!” Sue (Club member from Kent).
“It gets me out of the house. It makes me come out, I make myself do it. Because of this I have now got involved in lots of other things I would not normally have had the confidence to do. I’m now also a member of other societies. We have lots of lovely activities and sometimes we have speakers, which is really interesting. I hear about things that I normally wouldn’t hear about.” Liz (Club member from Manchester).
Here’s are some comments from Club Leaders:
“One of our members has dementia and always looks like she is not listening or taking part in activities. But when she was listening to the bird song in the Hunting by Night T2C Book Club pack she was looking out of the window searching for a bird….. it encourages her to engage with the outside world again. Thank you.”
“Due to coming to the meetings one person who was always a keen gardener before losing her sight has now taken up gardening again. We are now also involved in local Inclusive Arts activities and local arts and craft events. It has made a real difference to our lives.”
It can even change the lives of Club leaders. Here’s Pat’s story:
“Our Club very much improves every ones quality of life. Even mine. When I was first diagnosed with sight loss I thought my life was over. But since I started running the Club the only worry I have is keeping the club running! It has changed not only Club members’ lives but my life too!”