Tel: 01962 852133

Irene’s story

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From loss and financial struggle, on a journey towards friendship and support, Irene's story shows how Brendoncare Clubs makes a real difference to the lives of club members.

We’re very grateful to Irene, a Brendoncare club member from Portsmouth, for sharing her story with us.

“I couldn’t believe my luck meeting Mike. It was 2001 when we met and we just clicked. But after six and a half years with Mike, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. I was working at a doctor’s surgery when he was given a year to live so I left my job to make the most of my time with him. I only had him for eight months.

Losing Mike was the worst time of my life. The loneliness was horrible. It was like being in a bubble, like nothing existed anymore. There was also the financial side of things. Mike was a financial advisor so I had always relied on him for that. I went out and bought things I didn’t need just to forget for five minutes about my sadness.

In January 2014 I heard that a Brendoncare friendship club was going to start in the Good Companions Pub in Portsmouth. I came with some friends and I’ve been going ever since. It’s somewhere I come and relax, I can enjoy myself. My bereavement doesn’t have to come into it. It’s my favourite saying, “It’s a lovely way to start the week”.

Staff at Brendoncare told me about the financial support I could get through the Access Fund. I’m on Pension Credit and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it. But they explained and it does make a difference, it really does. And I’m grateful for it. I would prefer not to be in this situation, of course, but you can’t help what’s happened.  It helps make life easier.

I’m quite happy with the life that I’m leading now; it wasn’t how I imagined my later life to be if it happens you’ve got to deal with it… and I’m dealing with it. I’m just so grateful that this club is going. It’s so meaningful, it really is. I would be devastated without this club.”

The Access Fund is part of Brendoncare’s Care for Life programme, and provides financial support to club members like Irene, to ensure they can continue to attend their Brendoncare Club, enjoying fun, friendship and vital support despite financial issues. For more information about our Access Fund and how to apply, please contact Brendoncare Clubs (telephone 01962 857099 or email