Avid Red, Colette, is a people-person.
At 91-years old, she enjoys nothing more than sitting down and having a good chat. Speaking to friends, old and new, listening to the stories they have to tell and learning about their lives.
Whoever you are, or wherever you’re from, retired nurse Colette is always interested in hearing your tale.
So, when lockdown hit back in March 2020, Colette found that her opportunities to meet new people and enjoy an interesting conversation became severely limited.
Registered blind, she lives in extra care sheltered accommodation in the Croxteth area.
But with visitors now unable to pop in, residents unable to meet and socialise, and her family unable to travel to her due to government restrictions, Colette found herself feeling isolated.
Those conversations became limited to her family only able to make daily phone calls - a challenge in itself knowing what to say each day, from both sides.
Once an avid reader and lover of interesting historical and factual programmes, her failing eyesight meant she could no longer enjoy a good book or sit down to enjoy watching a TV programme.
“How can you really pass the day when you have to stay inside, and your limited vision means you can’t read a book or watch TV?,“ asks her daughter Ann.
Lockdown started to take its toll on Colette, as it surely has with many other isolated people.
Her family became so concerned at her lack of physical contact that her granddaughter Carly had an inspired idea. She hired a cherry-picker so she, and her mum, could be hoisted into the air to peer through Colette’s first-floor window to say hello, have a chat and actually see her for the first time in many weeks. Colette unfortunately couldn’t see her surprise outdoor visitors, but she knew they were there and was very glad to talk to them.
Recognising that Colette missed having someone new to connect with and speak to, the Citizens Advice Bureau referred her to the LFC Connect service, a social isolation initiative aimed at contacting older and vulnerable neighbours in the north Liverpool and Kirkby communities to chat on the phone and have a virtual cuppa with them.
Since being introduced to the programme, her daughter Ann says the phone calls have been a wonderful tonic for her mum and have lifted her spirits considerably.
“With everything happening at the moment, life can be so very difficult for those who are elderly and vulnerable. It’s hard to imagine just how challenging it is for these people, and then for my mum, it is compounded by the added difficulties of being without sight. The feelings of isolation and missing company must be enormous,” she says.
Ann didn’t initially know her mum was receiving the phone calls from the LFC Connect service. It was only when she received a special hamper over the festive period, as part of the Operation Christmas Magic campaign, that it became clear the club had been in contact.
“The hamper she received at Christmas was simply marvellous. I was a little surprised when she told me it had come from Liverpool FC, but I think it’s fantastic and such a wonderfully kind gesture.
“Then she told me that she had been receiving phone calls from LFC. At first, I was a little concerned but the club confirmed that they had indeed been calling mum on a regular basis as part of their Connect service, to check in on her and make sure she was getting those interesting chats she longed for so much!
“I think the service that LFC is offering is so incredibly important and valuable, it really goes a long way to helping those who are vulnerable and feeling isolated so they can stay connected and don’t feel alone. What a wonderful way for LFC to support the community.
“My mum grew up with her father, my grandfather, being a huge Reds fan and a loyal season-ticket holder, I know that he would be incredibly proud and delighted to know what the club is doing for her and that she’s being supported by the team he loved so much.”