Friendship Call Participant – Barry

Joanne has now been actively supporting on the befriending calls and has a couple of people with who she speaks with regularly, plus other individuals. Barry is one of the people she have been speaking with.

Joanne started speaking with Barry in August, he has become a participant of the Telephone Befriending service due to experiencing loneliness. He has got family but since his wife passed away 5 years, he hasn’t gone out other than food shopping or to see family.

He is very lonely, during conversations Barry told Joanne how he doesn’t have friends, when his wife passed away, he lost himself and attempted suicide and was admitted into hospital for his mental health as he was at risk to himself, he was sectioned and placed on suicide watch. Barry had 1-2-1 support whilst in hospital to ensure he was safe and this whole experience has left him anxious. Barry has a colourful an extensive history, he was a businessman and has a wealth of experience gained from his business and travelling around the world for business. His family business of fruit, veg and flowers remains operational in Rotherham, now managed by his daughter Barry wears his heart on his sleeve and is happy for me to share some of his story. Barry came to the coffee morning, this was a big deal for Barry he had not been out in any social setting for 5 years, he was very nervous an anxious on the day, he was shaking, bless him. When he arrived, I made sure he was ok, he arrived early, and we were still setting up. He was happy to wait outside to have a cigarette and try to calm himself down. He got chatting with another guy who also was a first-time attendee. When Barry came into the room he was still shaking, I got him a cup of tea and he eventually began to feel a bit more comfortable, I reassured him he was a in safe space. Barry really enjoyed getting ready, he is a very proud man and likes to look the part, which he did. I think that in itself was a huge step for Barry and will support his journey to feeling better and more positive about the future. Barry would like to meet a companion to share his time with and make new memories, whilst he continues to grieve his wife.

Barry is very engaging and was chatting with everyone, he was smiling and laughing. Barry said

‘It was the first time he had smiled in a while, he felt very safe and was so pleased he came to the coffee morning. He felt it had given him something to look forward to and life was good’. He also said he felt more confident at the end to start going out more.

When Barry arrived home, he left Joanne a message to say thank you and that he was thrilled he came, he felt he had been given life back, it was a very emotional morning to be a part of this positive step forward for Barry was immense. Barry is really looking forward to coming to the next one in September which is a massive step for him.