It’s almost Christmas and the coronavirus pandemic still has a hold on the day-to-day lives of millions around the world, including one Salford pensioner who has been unable to make a trip down to Langworthy Cornerstone for his usual activities in months.
Graham Ringwood, 70, who lives in Pendleton in Salford, enjoyed his visits to the Langworthy Cornerstone every Tuesday before the COVID-19 pandemic, with his first trip to the community centre in 2012.
Mr. Ringwood said: “I found out about it in 2012. I was redundant from work and walking around Eccles and a health improvement team were handing out leaflets for activities in Eccles but they told me about the Cornerstone.
“I went along and signed up for new age kurling. A few weeks later, I joined a cookery course and over the years a men’s activity group.”
Unable to attend any in-person activities due to the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place, Mr. Ringwood admitted it was hard to keep himself occupied initially.
“At first it was difficult knowing what to do but I soon sorted myself out by being confident in my actions. It has been awkward not being able to meet people to do activities but I try to keep in contact with some of them,” Mr. Ringwood added.
For someone like Mr. Ringwood, retired and living alone, these past few months would have been a massive struggle on their mental health but the 70-year-old believes it has only made him stronger.
Mr. Ringwood added: “I think with all the troubles it has made me more stable.
“I don’t think it has affected my mental health because I keep myself active. I have been going for walks and practising tai chi in open spaces.”
Although members like Mr. Ringwood have been unable to pop in for a game of darts, Langworthy Cornerstone have been keeping its visitors busy with online activities – something Mr. Ringwood has enjoyed.
“They organised escape room, history talks and quizzes. I liked the escape room, they were most challenging.
“It has been very interesting doing things online such as quizzes and talks. It’s all very new to me but very helpful.”
Mr. Ringwood is eager for the doors of the community centre to reopen for him again, whenever that may be.
“I am really looking forward to starting kurling and group sessions as soon as it reopens.
“I made enquiries about restarting kurling but the following week the lockdown started so it’s all on hold again.”
When Mr. Ringwood does return to the Langworthy Cornersone, he would like to see more new faces in there.
“I would recommend the Cornerstone to anybody who feels lonely or bored.
“There is so much to do, all they have to do is call in or give them a call when things get more stable.”
However, with Tier 3 restrictions to remain in place in the region for the time being, it might be a while yet before Mr. Ringwood can make his Tuesday trips to the centre again.
You can find out more information on the Langworthy Cornerstone here, with the community centre based at 451 Liverpool St, Salford M6 5QQ.