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My Story about Trowbridge Future by Jim Wallace

When I lost my wife to dementia after caring for her at home for nearly 10 years the sense of devastation was often overwhelming. I felt that I had nothing to fill my life even though I had a wonderful family. Home was a painful and isolating place at that time, so I went out into Trowbridge one day towards the end of February 2020. I wandered into the Trowbridge Future Community Hub in The Shires. I cannot remember my exact reasons; I just knew I had to push myself to interact with people. That morning I found myself talking to Robert, one of the volunteers. He introduced me to a visitor who was also a volunteer for the local LINK SERVICE. He took people to hospital and GP Surgeries in his own car and was paid expenses. Given my previous work, I signed up and became a LINK Driver myself. From March to July during the first Lockdown I enjoyed helping and interacting with customers. The work also gave me structure. However, it was tiring disinfecting the whole car before and after each journey and I decided to end my stint in August. By November, the second Lockdown hit and as the days grew dark my spirits truly dropped. As with others caring for a dearly loved spouse over many years, I had lost the skill and confidence of social interaction on my own (so different from professional interaction) that the idea of pushing out there yet again was more daunting than before. But the idea formed that I would have to make that first move again if I wanted to improve my lot. As the country gradually steered out of Lockdown in 2021 so did I, starting to visit Trowbridge Future Hub again. The tears would still overwhelm now and again but no one minded, and I felt supported. The staff always gave me a warm welcome and I found I really was beginning to look forward to going, not just to have a chat with the staff but also the other people there. I took to visiting the Trowbridge Future Kindness Café on Fridays at the Seymour Hub and now have a wonderful social group there, full of conversation and good-natured banter. A few weeks ago someone suggested I try the Led Walks starting from the Seymour Hub on Monday mornings. This group was a further revelation. We walk at our own pace enjoying the scenery and the history of local sites thanks to the amazing knowledge of the Walk Leader and local resident walkers. This is the best activity I’ve done since my wife died (although the Fish and Chip lunches are a close second). When I think of how my life has changed this year, I realise the magnitude of my journey. I've made friends, seen and learned new things, been able to support others as they have supported me and the journey continues. I would love to encourage others to join me and open up their lives by taking their own first steps. The Kindness Cafes run by Trowbridge Future are a brilliant, safe place to start.

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