Out In The City is meeting again!
Formally organised support groups are allowed to meet with up to a maximum of 15 participants. The exemptions under the national restrictions specifically include groups that support people facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender.
We will be meeting at Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street, Manchester M2 1NL – but this is not a drop-in. Booking is essential as we have to limit the numbers to maintain social distancing. If you are interested, please contact us.
Mind Yer ‘Ed
Talking About My Generation was started as a campaign so people aged 50 and over from across Greater Manchester could change the record on what it means to grow older in the region.
Volunteers were given the training to become community reporters so they could set the record straight on ageing by reporting on other people from their generation, charting their own stories of life over 50 and showing any challenges associated with ageing and how they are being overcome, to inspire people to live the life they choose, regardless of age.
One of the projects is the Mind Yer ‘Ed series and members of Out in The City have been interviewed. Here are a couple of the interviews:
I felt like Robinson Crusoe, Staying Connected is Vital
As part of the Mind Yer ‘Ed series, Ed Seager from Tameside tells us he has a new-found appreciation for the people around him since the coronavirus outbreak. Here he shares his experience of the pandemic and how he re-ignited his passion for wildlife and writing to cope.
“I’ve always been very self-contained but the virus was been a wake-up call. It made me realise people are a lot more precious than we think and it feels strange when you can’t meet those people. You felt like Robinson Crusoe.
The social isolation I felt has been quite profound. I live on my own and before the lockdown, I didn’t realise how lucky I was to have a strong network of friends. Now I realise, they’re part of my wellbeing.
It’s vital to stay connected and occupied, so I am keeping in touch with those friends from the Out In The City group, which is a lifeline. I had a terrible time coming out, it was a nightmare, but as I have got to know the group over the past two years, I’ve felt considerably more comfortable in myself and realised there are people out there like me who have had a bit of a rough ride.
Going for a walk and being outside has been incredibly therapeutic. I’ve always been an outdoors person and psychologically, it’s always helped. I’ve always been interested in nature, and I guess I’m quite lucky I can go to Daisy Nook Country Park and see lots of different wildlife. That deep connection with nature I’ve had since I was a kid is a real treasure right now.
I have also been coping with writing, I have always enjoyed it, and I am doing more now than I’ve ever done before, including on a Facebook group I set up last year, called The Mental Health Recovery Fund. It aims to address the impact of poverty and mental distress, both of which have affected me. I’m really passionate about the project.
I used to be a social worker before retiring at the age of 41 due to medical reasons. But I think once you’re a social worker, you never stop being one. I’ve never liked injustice and suffering, I’ve been like that since I was a child.”
Zoom, Music and keeping My Partner Healthy has kept me going
As part of the Mind Yer ‘Ed series, Helen Hallam, a member of Manchester’s Out in the City group shares her experience of the pandemic. She tells us about how getting support from the LGBTQ community, the joy of music and getting involved with virtual Pride events lifted her spirits.
“I’ve found it really difficult. Part of it has been because my partner was diagnosed with cancer just before the lockdown, so she’s been having treatment for that throughout. That’s been like a double-whammy.
The hardest thing has been not having social contact. I’m a social being and I like to be out and about. I’m in lots of groups and my partner and I have been together for a very long time. In that sense I’m not alone but on the other hand the things I like to do have just stopped and they’ve had to stop because I dare not take the risk of catching anything when my partner’s immune system is non-existent.
I’ve been fearful of going out when I’ve had to. Just things like going to the dentist, which I’ve been doing for years is a really scary thing to do at this time.
I’m in several LGBTQ groups and it means I’ve got contact with people online and someone to talk about my difficulties with. Sometimes we have themes and sometimes we just chat and that’s been very important to me; to know that on a specific time during the week that I’m going to have that time with my friends.
You’ve got that emotional contact even though those people aren’t actually there in the flesh. I always feel 100 times better when I come off those Zoom meetings.
I’m into my live music and before the pandemic hit, I would enjoy going to the jazz club or twice a week I would to go to a couple of venues that have live rock music. I’m really missing that. Some of the bands that played at the venues I go to have done some streaming or put stuff up on YouTube, which has been quite good, but it’s not the same.
What I do have is Spotify and I listen to that all the time. I usually go out and walk for about an hour and a half and I can listen to my music while I’m out – it’s fantastic. But sometimes, I can feel a bit sad while I’m out on a walk and I’ll be listening to my music and have a little cry. It’s just a moment when you’re feeling the pressure, but it’s a good way of relieving it.
The cancellation of all the Pride events was sad – it’s such a wonderful experience. It’s about socialising but it’s also about saying this is who we are, out and proud.
I’ve been to a few of the virtual Prides and there were some fantastic acts. I think LGBTQ communities have had to be closer at the moment, but I think they’ve also been more separated from the wider community.
Anyone who struggling mentally at the moment, take my advice, get involved with anything out there that interests you and join in with virtual meetings or events. It has helped me.”
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