Chris shares how a CUF-supported project in Kings Lynn helped turn around the crippling loneliness and isolation he experienced after retirement.
“15 months ago, I was forced to take early retirement due to ill-health. I’d had a very busy career as an auditor and trainer in the brewing industry which involved meeting lots of people and lots of travel.
Rheumatoid arthritis started having a very negative effect on my hand, and my joints generally. Suddenly I found myself physically seizing up. I couldn’t do everyday things like holding a kettle of water.
I had a very upsetting conversation with my doctor about what I was going to do in my retirement. I happened to mention I loved playing with wood and power tools. Unfortunately, I was getting to the point where my hands wouldn’t let me do that anymore.
Living on my own, I missed the interaction with other people. I found I was losing my self-worth, sitting in a chair all day watching day-time television. I was lonely, and I began to slip into depression, eventually being diagnosed with clinical depression.
I was out shopping one day when I saw an advert for the Men’s Shed, supported by CUF. That was it! I went down there immediately, and to be honest I haven’t look back since. At the Men’s Shed I make enclosures for all kinds of animals as well as picket fencing for local farm suing reclaimed pallet wood.
Now I’m using my hands and I’m standing up. My energy and stamina levels are being boosted. Unlike a year ago I don’t seem to be seizing up like I was, and without question, I put that down to the fact that I’m doing physical things again and I’m keeping active.
You don’t even need to work with wood at the Men’s Shed. Some of the guys just come in to have a chat. Coming here has been a big positive for me! I can’t over estimate how important this project has been both mentally and physically for me!