Cumbria Crack

Befriending service for women launches in West Cumbria

Patricia Sharkey

A befriending service has been launched for women in West Cumbria.

Women Out West originally began the scheme for over-55s feeling isolated or lonely during COVID-19, who needed support and friendship, but has now expanded it for any age group.

It is urging women who need a chat to get in touch.

The service is run by Patricia Sharkey, who has already supported many women at the centre in her volunteering role.

Patricia, who was the first volunteer when the centre opened in 2019, said she was no stranger to isolation herself as she has been shielding almost constantly since the first lockdown in March.

She said she was passionate about supporting all who feel disconnected from the community and knows the difference that a friendly voice can make on difficult days.

Rachel Holliday, founder of Women Out West, said: “It has become very apparent that the impact of social isolation on health and well-being is affecting more and more people in West Cumbria.

“We want to extend our service to ensure that all women over 55 who feel alone and isolated can access a friend to help them feel more connected.”

Access the service by visiting or call 07985 41121.

Patricia is available between 10am and 2pm Monday to Friday, and picks up messages regularly.