Since the covid-19 pandemic The Widows Empowerment Trust has had to adapt in the services that we provide.
The Widows Empowerment Trust was founded in 2017 by Oyovwe Kigho, for her empathy for widows & widowers who have been left alone and socially isolated as they have no family member close by or a social circle. Oyovwe’s passion has resulted in being presented with the British Citizen Award Medal 2020 for helping to tackle loneliness amongst the widows & widower.
The organisation offered community workshops for widows & widowers to learn new skills or develop forgotten skills. The primary purpose of these workshops is to provide a safe space for widows & widowers who are socially isolated to be able to socialise and benefit from each other’s company whilst helping each other get through the unbearable grief of losing a life partner.
The organisation also regularly held social events such as eating out or visiting the cinema together. This all had to come to halt due to the covid-19 pandemic. Our services gave them a new lease of life by giving them the opportunity to smile again, so we were saddened that this face to face interaction of the group had to come to an end. However, being the ever-tenacious organisation that we are, we didn’t let covid-19 defeat us and we didn’t abandon our service users instead we had to think of new initiatives to ensure that our service users were not again socially isolated or feeling alone.
We have adapted our award-winning befriending services to go on-line. Some of our service users are elderly and as a result our volunteers taught them how to use technology to be able to connect to zoom to take part in interactive workshop. The Widows Empowerment have introduced arts & craft classes every Wednesdays, and we even deliver the materials to the service users the day before to ensure that they are fully equipped to join in.
We have also introduced bingo & quiz nights every Saturday where the service users are able to get together virtually and still socialise from the comforts of their own home. The service users still feel very much connected to society and enjoy these virtual gatherings that we have. The workshop, bingo & quiz nights give them something to look forward to and mix up their week from them being indoors alone and still allows them to connect with each other which is vital for their mental wellbeing during these uncertain times.
We still do one to one community visits in a safe way to protect our service users and our volunteers. The face to face interaction allows our service users to feel that that there is still a human face listening to them with empathy and helping to assist them through their grief and helping to tackle the sense of loneliness.
We also do weekly check-ins with our service users over the phone to ensure that they feel that we are still very much here and supporting them in whatever way we can.
Our services have also adapted to include carrying out grocery shopping for our most vulnerable service users and we will continue to provide this service should we experience another lock-down.
We will not allow Covid-19 to prevent us from reaching our service users because we genuinely care about their mental wellbeing!