Brian from the Men’s Shed tells us how St Luke’s changed his social life

Brian lived above the Shepherdess Café in EC1 until he was six years old, when his family moved to Dalston and over the years several places around east London. He and his friends always came into central London for sight-seeing and socialising, and he was a regular visitor to Hoxton & Broadway Market.

Brian was born on 3rd July, 1948. His father said: “Why couldn’t you have waited another two days, until the NHS was introduced on the 5th July, I could have saved myself one and six (7 1/2 pence) to pay the midwife to deliver you!”

Brian’s family had three fish and chip shops. Brian and his wife managed the Hastings shop, and they moved down to a village just outside the town. After 30 years of marriage his wife, Jackie, sadly passed away. He decided that Jackie wouldn’t have liked him to be sitting around and he needed to live his life, so he decided to be social.

He lived in a residential community of 24 apartments, and he and two others formed a social group called ‘Join Us’. It was a group to get all the residents involved with social activities, but only around eight people joined up. He felt sad that others didn’t want to join but as he said: “You can’t force them, but if they joined in they may have enjoyed it.”

With his daughter and family living around London, he regularly visited them and went on day trips to London. One day he was driving through the Blackwall Tunnel and he turned to his daughter and said: “I’m going to move back to London!”. He then put his flat in Hastings on a house swap site and ended up swapping with someone in EC1 just a short distance from St Luke’s.

Brian finally moved into his new flat in EC1 in November 2021. The current occupier of his flat suggested that he joined St Luke’s, so he took her advice and joined in December 2021.

He was introduced to Graham Reeves, Older Men’s Development Officer, from the Men’s Shed. Since then Brian has come in on his mobility scooter several times a week for lunch and to socialise and play games such as Boccia, snooker and lawn bowls. St Luke’s has really helped him find his new friends and become an active part of the community here. He recently enjoyed the coach trip to Kew and the visit to AHMM based at the White Collar Factory as well. He looks forward to the trips that the Men’s Shed provide and has made several friends here. A couple of friends he has made he also socialises with outside the centre. 

Brian says: “I’m so pleased that I joined St Luke’s, I have made friends here and join in with the activities. I especially enjoy the trips away with the Men’s Shed and I’m looking forward to the trip down the Regent’s Canal.” He calls out to all people living alone in the area to join St Luke’s, you never know you just may enjoy it and make new friends. In Brian’s words: “It changed my life!”

St Luke’s provides many activities for men over 55 which you can find here: Men's Shed.

There are classes for men and women over 55 every day at the Centre, which can be found here: Classes for all ages.

St Luke’s runs a Lunch Club for Islington residents over 55. Three course subsidised lunch served 12-2pm, Monday to Friday. 

If you would like to join the Men’s Shed contact Graham Reeves, who works on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Information also available from the Reception Team on 020 7549 8181 or email.