Eight decades of bringing Polio people together in love and Fellowship
No more lonely Valentine’s with British Polio
Looking back on almost eight decades of bringing people together in a spirit of Fellowship, on the eve of Valentine’s Day, national charity The British Polio Fellowship says no one who has had Polio and now has Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) needs to be lonely. The national charity’s branch and regional network is flourishing and open to all – and while many a lifelong friendship has been rekindled, love has blossomed too.
Trustee Archie Leyden is one member who returned to active membership after a long absence, to become Chair of the Scottish Region; is a national Board member; and met his wife Pat through the charity, too. Former National Treasurer Linda Evers met her husband through the charity, and others forged new relationships and friendships. The work of The British Polio Fellowship as a means to meet people has never seemed more relevant. With three quarters of older people in the UK lonely (including an estimated eight million men, who would rather not admit it), the charity is still here to help, no matter where in the country people are.
“With Polio forgotten, it is easy for survivors living with PPS to feel abandoned, but the fact is, we are still here,” said The British Polio Fellowship National Chairman, David Mitchell. “We have around 10,000 active members, but with 120,000 living with PPS, there are thousands more out there we can help. From benefits advice and support, to a regular chat with a friendly voice, we are only a second away, if people will pick up the phone and let us help them.” Many are naturally reluctant to admit they have a problem. Men are far less likely to try and make new friends or join clubs, yet those that pluck up the courage and take the plunge rarely look back – discovering a world of friends, activities and even relationships. The charity is working to address the issues, with regions initiating ‘buddy calls’ to contact members struggling to get out for a chat and to offer support direct.
“Our approach to members is proving a success, but non-members must make the first move,” added David. “When people know the activities we are running locally, they often ask ‘can I come?’ We can’t promise romance, but there will be a warm welcome, and – unlike asking a Valentine for a date – people can be certain our answer will be a resounding, of course, yes!”
If these issues are affecting you, contact the charity and a team member will be happy to direct you to a local Branch.