Lola's experience of community development
A case study from LiveWest's community development programme

About the project

LiveWest are a housing association who run the BAB community development programme in Easton.

The main aim of the project is to address loneliness and isolation in the over fifties. The aims are achieved through supporting engagement in local events and activities, facilitating the creation of new groups, and identifying and maximising opportunities to make connections between isolated older people and the wide community.

A participants story: Lola

What was life like for Lola before becoming involved in the project? 

Lola was extremely isolated before getting involved with BAB. She was consuming large amounts of alcohol and not taking any medication to support her mental health. Lola was craving human contact, she was very talkative and open regarding her life and history.

The team at LiveWest first met Lola at a community pop-up event in Easton. After having a long chat with her mainly about housing issues, Lola expressed that she would like to get involved with the project, she expressed an interest in tailoring and art, but other factors in her life were getting in the way. Lola attended some of the social gathering LiveWest arranged and seemed to really benefit from attending, as she said she was extremely lonely and depressed. 

What has changed for you as a result of this project?

There has been major changes for Lola, since becoming involved with the BAB project, Lola has started to put herself first, she now visits the doctor when needed and is on board with her medication. Lola definitely feels more included, by attending the Art club, and Tea & Talk, being sociable, is a lot less scary, Lola has made some great friendships, produced some fantastic art work, and participated in some great conversations.

Lola said she has found new lease of energy, she is out and about more often, she will go to her local parks, visits friend and has made big progress with her flat.

Lola seems to be in a better place and seems happy. On a few occasions Lola has thanked me, for my help and has said she is thankful for this project. Lola now thinks she has the time, and mentally she’s ready to give back to the community, Lola has always expressed an interest in teaching people tailoring skills, and said with help, she would like to get a sewing group together.

What is life like for Lola now?  

Lola feels much more happier within herself; she was the inspiration behind the start of a Sewing group. This did start off as her sewing group, but Lola found it quite demanding trying to help everyone, especially when the people she was helping were all doing different things. LiveWest and Lola both agreed to get some additional support involved, to take the stress away from her, and this has allowed her to spend more time sharing tips with individuals rather than a group. The group has a great dynamic as a result.

What do you plan to do next?        

"I plan to keep sewing, and get my flat finished, so I can start making garments for people again like I used to. I used to make good money. I’m going to try my best, to keep connected with my family especially my son who lives in Copenhagen."

What would you say to others who are thinking of getting involved?

"Definitely get involved! I’m so glad I met Rose, actually I met her at the right time, as I was going through a lot of difficulties, such as problems with neighbours, family, poor health physically and mentally. I felt so tired all the time, and kept putting things off. This project as given energy and support, which has allowed me to start doing one of the things I love again, which is sewing / Tailoring."


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