Shropshire bird-feeding scheme fighting loneliness

Louise Poynton, a lady with blonde hair

Louise Poynton said her stepfather could not live without the Feed the Birds service

A befriending service that sees people feeding birds together to combat loneliness is transforming lives, families say.

Feed the Birds is run by Shropshire Wildlife Trust and has been connecting with isolated people for six years.

Volunteers meet clients once a week to top up bird feeders and have a chat.

Louise Poynton said her 88-year-old stepfather thought the service was “marvellous” and he now “couldn’t live without it”.

She said after he became poorly he was unable to go out and became extremely isolated in his bungalow, until he got involved with the programme.

“He is now letting people through the door, he’s not lonely anymore,” she said, adding he “literally can’t wait” for the volunteers to arrive so they can “talk about birds, dogs, life, football, Everton – whatever”.

“It’s changed his life,” she said.

Diane Monether smiling

Diane Monether said the scheme could reach people who would often refuse help because they did not want to be a burden

The scheme is run by Diane Monether who described it as a “listening service”.

“It’s company, companionship around connections with nation and birds,” she said.

“The people we reach are people who would often refuse traditional befriending schemes or intervention – and so the bird feeding is a hook to getting in.

Most people will accept a bird feeder being put up in their garden.

The organisation is looking for more volunteers to take part in the scheme.

A blue tit feeding

Most people will accept a bird feeder in the garden, Ms Monether says

Volunteer Louise White said her client was a woman who did not have close family around and loved the visits.

“She said there are sides to herself that I know that none of her neighbours know,” Ms White said.

“She’s got this enormous life and done all these amazing things and she tells me something new every time I see her.

“It’s quite a privilege.”

Louise White, a lady with brown hair

Louise White said she loved meeting her client each week

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