THE importance of friendship to help lonely older people has been stressed as part of World Friendship Day.

Joe Jackson, who used the Reconnections service to help interact with others after his wife's death, is one of those who enjoyed the benefits of socialising with others.

Mr Jackson, from Worcestershire, joined Reconnections in April 2018, soon after the death of his beloved wife, after 59 years together.

Reconnections is a scheme which aims to reduce older people’s feelings of loneliness by reconnecting them with interests, sharing skills and joining activities in their local communities.

When Joe first joined the scheme, he wanted to make new friends for himself and join activities.

Now, almost a year on, he loves coming to Sky Lounge socials and outings, and is a much liked and valued member of “The Gang”.

He enjoys helping people and says coming along makes him feel wanted.

Sophie Pryce, Reconnections group manager said: “Joe has now become one of the best volunteers and is well known in the social groups for making a brilliant pot of tea. 

"The change for the better in Joe in the past year is evident, as he has gradually been able to start laughing again.”

Councillor Adrian Hardman, cabinet member with responsibility for adult social care, said: “Joe is one of many people from across Worcestershire that has seen first-hand the great work that goes on and the great impact a scheme like Reconnections can have on someone.

"Loneliness and mental health are an increasing problem in today’s society, so I’m really proud of the work that Reconnections does to make strides in this area and the vast impact this can have on quality of life.”

Joe is just one of 3,000 of people that Reconnections has worked with since its launch in 2015. In the past six months alone the service has helped in excess of 150 people.

The Reconnections service is commissioned by Worcestershire County Council and is provided by Age UK Herefordshire and Worcestershire, together with local voluntary and community organisations.

If you would like to refer a lonely older person or would like to volunteer with Reconnections call 01905 740954 or visit