"I felt more confident and want to do more. It's important to me that I keep active and I want to help others."Shazia, 50 from Sparkhill
Shazia is 50 and lives in Sparkhill, Birmingham, together with her husband and two children, a son and daughter. She used to feel unhappy and very isolated, but thankfully, now that she has found friends in her neighbourhood, things are much better for her. Along with other support, attending a Flower arranging activity funded by Ageing Better and making friends, made a big difference to her life.
The year of 2017 had been a difficult one for Shazia. She said "I felt sad and kept crying. I also lost lots of weight and wasn't sleeping."
With the help of her family, she took the step of seeing her family doctor and was diagnosed with depression and she started taking medication and later started seeing a therapist for counselling. She also attended a Mindfulness class at a local centre.
Then in June 2018, Shazia spotted a leaflet at a mosque advertising an Ageing Better Activity; Flowers in the Park, a flower arranging activity, at Tyseley Community Centre. She was very nervous about going to something new where she didn't know anyone, but it was near her house and she was determined to go along. She was greeted by Samreena, the friendly and welcoming tutor along with many other warm
friendly people in the group. This helped quickly put her at ease.
Shazia said she found a sense of purpose going to the Flower arranging classes and she found the art of making flower arrangements and bouquets therapeutic. "I looked forward to Mondays and I felt peaceful, calm and relaxed touching the flowers."
The other benefit was the friendships made. Since the group finished, Shazia still keeps in touch with the other members of the group by text, and sometimes they meet at each other's houses. Last summer five of the group arranged a trip together to Plymouth, where they had a great time.
With the positive impact the Ageing Better activities and group had on Shazia she decided to contact Nita, the Sparkbrook Hub Enabler, to look at setting up her own group along with some other people she knows. Shazia was taking some English classes in parallel and the email she sent Nita was the first ever email that she had sent!
When she got a reply, she said
"I felt more confident and want to do more. It's important to me that I keep active and I want to help others. Thank you to Ageing Better."