A Co Tyrone woman is hoping to provide a space for adults to make friends after the isolation of coronavirus lockdowns.
Fernanda Lara was born in Brazil but has been living in Northern Ireland for 17 years now, and is a primary school teacher currently working as a substitute teacher.
She said making friends as an adult is difficult, and after noticing changes in the children she teaches after lockdown, she wondered how the pandemic had impacted the social lives of adults.
As a result, she decided to establish Dungannon Area Friends, billed as “a safe space for people who would like to make new friends in the Dungannon area.”
However, Fernanda makes it clear that “this is not a dating group. Please don’t confuse us with Tinder.”
Speaking to MyTyrone, she talked us through what led her to establishing the group, and how things are going little over a week into its creation.
She said: “I’m a teacher so I noticed how the children have changed after lockdown, they’re a lot more unsettled, they’re not used to sharing things anymore, and there’s a lot less empathy.
“So I was wondering – if lockdown has had that much of an impact on children, what is it doing to adults? As I’m sure adults are being impacted by it as well. You see on the news all the time how people, especially older people, are feeling isolated and how they’re trying to connect to other people but it’s hard.
“You just never know how people are feeling at the moment. They might seem okay on social media, but deep down they may be seeking that connection and really trying to make friends but finding it difficult.
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“I just thought I would go on and see if anybody wanted to join me, just to try and connect to other people, and to make friends. It’s really hard to make friends as an adult as it is, but now because of lockdown it’s extra hard.”
There are now over 50 members on the Facebook group, with Fernanda hoping it grows. She adds she doesn’t have much planned in the way of events currently, but is hoping to get out for coffee, walks, and lunch with members of the group to allow friendships to flourish.
You can find Dungannon Area Friends on Facebook by clicking here.
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This Article firstly Publish on www.belfastlive.co.uk