The need to support the UK's Widows and Widowers is more important and urgent than ever. With our support, we help widows get back into the community.
Each year about 2.5 million people die nationwide, every death leaves behind an average of 4 or 5 grieving survivors.
Half a million older people go at least 5 or 6 days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all.
The pandemic is one of the most unprecedented, unrivalled scientific and global challenges. The communities we serve are now faced with multiple challenges - grief, lockdown, the risk of contracting the virus itself and its impact on overstretched health services, to the knock-on effect on the health and livelihood system.
We are adapting our work to respond to these new challenges, both now and in the long term. While we continue to meet our charitable objectives, tacking loneliness, isolation & mental health.
The effective ways we adapted to limit the impact of the loneliness & isolation faced by our bereaved spouses and others. We adapted new innovative ideas to bringing our community together using a virtual support network by using activities such as Bingo, Crafts & Quiz. Also, befriending services using a telephone to chat up with our beneficiaries . This activities have helps our group to feel connected and making friends.
When it is safe to do so, and in line with national government guidelines & rules, we continued to work directly with communities. Our volunteers form deep relationships and build on trust, with people with whom we provide support for. Our befriending service over the phone & face to face on social distancing with PPE is helping to tackle the social isolation. Also, our online activities ensuring that our response plans are meeting the needs of the people we serve- and using our existing networks to share important information across our volunteers. Most of our community and national volunteer have been able to continue their work since the pandemic started.
Alongside supporting our community to connect and building a safe space to help reduce the loneliness & isolation posed by the pandemics. Our ongoing services continue to strengthen the essential systems that underpin society including loneliness. social isolation, mental health, and social inclusion network.
We are working to safeguard access to services for our older people and marginalized group. This enabled them to connect with others in the communities and empowering them to speak up, this helps to identify triggers at earliest stage. Also, we are making sure our services continue to build strong communities’ resilience, focusing on developing people we support through our empowerment program rather than creating dependency.
We recognize that, there are times when our partners may be better placed to reach the most vulnerable or isolated groups and we work in collaboration to build their capacity to deliver activities.
We worked with BBC Look North to help shine a light on loneliness and bereavement. BBC Look North wanted to interview some of our bereaved clients in the hopes their stories and experience could help people in need not knowing where to turn to.
We took our brave clients Dawn and Marion with us to the shoot They gave their take on bereavement, loneliness, grief and showcased their own experience and difficulties with losing a spouse during Covid-19.
Our befriender Lesley was Dawn's first point of contact. Lesley helped her on call and also put her in touch with another widow with young kids so that they could help support each other.
Dawn looks forward to the arts & craft and bingo zoom calls as that gives her time to herself and allows her to enjoy herself, have a laugh and take a break from her daily routine.
To find out more about Dawn's Story click here.
"They helped bring my confidence back"
Coming to this group has helped me a lot. I struggled with my mental health and faced all types of challenges around this. Not only can you take part in fun activities and learn new skills like sewing, but it is also a great way to meet new friends and build back confidence. Thank you for your support.
"I found new family in the people in this charity"
I faced some very lonely years as a widow until I found a new family in the people at The Widows Empowerment Trust. Here I can enjoy social outings, and I especially appreciate the fact that we get the opportunity to go for a meal and to the cinema again, as doing this alone just never felt the same.
I have learned new skills and rediscovered old ones, and this has helped me build my confidence, trust in myself and also given me the strength to empower other widows. Thank you to The Widows Empowerment Trust for everything you do.
I love the fact that Oyovwe, did not hesitate to offer me the role and took a chance on me and is developing and investing in my skills and in return, I work exceptionally hard to deliver.
Without Oyovwe, willing to take a chance on me, I would have been applying for vacancies that were at entry level and well below the experience that I had gained over my working life.
This has had a huge impact on my wellbeing, I feel confident, I feel like I am contributing to society and giving back to society by working for such an amazing and selfless organisation.
"I'm convinced you helped me recover quicker"
Just a few lines to thank Oyovwe and Richard and The Widows Empowerment Trust for the kindness you have shown me over the past times when I was not very well.
I´m convinced that the visit you made to my flat helped me recover quicker,
so once again, thank you.
"They lifted my spirit so I could be strong for my family"
I lost my husband to an unexpected heart attack, and it was a devastating experience. At the same time as I felt numb from the shock, I was also in deep sorrow for my loss. Not only did I have the pain of bereavement to cope with, but this also robbed me of the future we were planning together. I also faced an array of practical challenges, like raising children on my own. It was a very overwhelming feeling, and I am grateful for my friends and family who helped me through this time, and also to The Widows Empowerment Trust.
Being a widow can be very isolating, and you feel like you are the only one going through this type of loss. Also, our society is not adequately equipped to handle grief, and you may feel awkward in social situations, and that people can´t relate.
That´s why the support and community you get in The Widows Empowerment Trust is one of the best things that could have happened to me. They helped me through counselling, numerous home-visits phone calls and gifts. I have benefitted a lot from the fact that they are so supportive and ready to help. They lifted my spirit and made it possible for me to carry on with daily life and be strong for my family.
The single most important factor they supply is the support of others. In this time, it is so essential to express your feelings, to not feel alone and to be with people who understand what you are experiencing. Before I knew of The Widows Empowerment Trust, I felt alone trying to raise to children with autism, isolated, socially excluded and terrified about the future. With the support of the Widows Empowerment Trust, I feel like I have a support network of people who strengthen each other through shared experiences and I never feel alone anymore. I can never thank you enough for your love and support.
This organisation brought back my forgotten talent. I used to love knitting and creating new things, but due to a bad experience in my life, I stopped practising Arts & Crafts. Joining the Widows Empowerment Trust, I was able to restart an old interest, and it felt like rediscovering an essential piece of yourself. For me, becoming a widow was a traumatising experience. Thank goodness I found this group, and I want to thank you for all the support you have given me.