A kind-hearted teenager is appealing for the public’s help as she prepares to launch a meeting place for lonely and vulnerable adults.
Chloe Prior, 18, from East Hendred, wants to provide a ‘warm, happy environment’ for people in Didcot to ‘feel less lonely, be themselves and relax’ – a service she feels is missing from the town.
The teenager, inspired while working at Changing Lives charity shop in Broadway, was prompted to take action after coming across a customer alone and asleep on a bench late at night.
The elderly woman, who lived on her own and is now in a care home, was seen on other nights walking head on into traffic.
Miss Prior said: “I tried waking her up but it took a lot to get her in my car to take her home.
“She was laughing at herself and couldn’t remember where she lived.
“Eventually we got her home, I was so concerned I rang 999 but they couldn’t help as she wasn’t injured in any way.
“It was very worrying and had a big impact on me and is a major reason why I now want to set up the meeting place.”
She added: “I believe this really needs to happen and as soon as possible because there are people so close to home struggling so badly in all different ways. I strongly believe that loneliness is a killer.”
Miss Prior will help lead the two-hour sessions, which are planned for twice a week from the end of the month.
She has the support of town councillor James Hart, and the pair are closing in on a location for the meetings.
The Millbrook ward representative, who volunteered at soup kitchens over Christmas, intends to get people on board with different areas of expertise, such as doctors and family liaison officers, to cover wide-ranging issues.
He said: “We want to help the people of Didcot and the surrounding villages in helping in all different aspects of life. We’re there to listen and there will be a drop-in centre very shortly.”
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