We caught up with Monday Social regulars Kevin and Danny, and newcomer Stephan, to find out about the friendship they have built through Archway…

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Danny: I’ve known Kevin ever since I came to Archway which was probably… I’m trying to guess now…

Kevin: Two and a half years.

D: Two and a half years, is it really?

K: Mmm. Two and a half.

D: Stephan hasn’t been here that long, have you?

Stephan: No. A couple of months. I’m a newbie.

– And how did you come to be friends?

D: I don’t know how we… I just came in, saw him sat at a table and came and sat on the table with him. I must’ve thought he [Kevin] looked interesting or something! I was pretty intrigued because he didn’t say a lot at the beginning. I like Kevin but he doesn’t give much away!

K: What!

S: When I started here I was a bit apprehensive, I didn’t know what to expect. Obviously I didn’t know anybody. I think the first couple of weeks I was a little bit unsure. And of course then I met these two. And then I was even more unsure! No, no, I’ve enjoyed meeting Kevin and Danny. I enjoy their company. I hope they enjoy mine!

K: I didn’t feel that safe when I first came. I mean, usually in groups you get a bit of backbiting or…

S: Yeah.

K: …and people upsetting one person. But I love it in Archway because you can talk to anyone. Stephan, did you have that problem with talking to people when you first came?

S: Yeah.

K: Yeah, I did too.

S: Yeah. ‘Cause obviously I didn’t know anybody and I’d never been here before in my life, but I think the important thing is that everybody here is basically in the same boat: that we have problems with making friends. We make friends, but not that easy, the way most people would.

– And what do you like about spending time with each other?

D: Kevin is always concerned about my welfare. He sort of says, “If Danny’s not here, I wonder where he is.” We jolly each other along about different things. Sometimes I’m up and sometimes down, and sometimes he’s up and down, and we just have a general joke about things. We have a laugh and we just talk about things in our lives that are relevant to us, and that’s it really, you know?

K: Meeting Danny and all the rest of them in Archway, they’ve brought me out of myself. I used to be terribly upset all the time. And meeting Dan, and Stephan and that, we chum around…

S: We do, we do! It’s nice to sit with these two and have a good laugh.

K: … we get on.

– We have a very varied programme at the Monday Social. What is your favourite sort of evening?

D: Well, it’s a bit hit and miss tonight cause it’s flower arranging and we’re not quite into flower arranging.

K: No!

S: I like the music ones.

D: Yeah, the kind where you can participate.

S: I like any of them, but I do like to join in.

D: I just feel that it’s something I can do. I’m not clever at playing games or anything like that. The only thing I can do is make a noise! I’ve got this terrible sort of inferiority complex. I’m not good enough.

K: That’s not true, Danny.

S: You’re ample good enough.

D: But I feel it though. I feel that I don’t fit in anywhere.

K: That’s not true!

– So, you like music evenings, what else?

K: I like the mystery game. We have these evenings, where you get these weird objects and you’ve got to try and guess what it is. Gets your brain going.

D: Yeah.

K: I never know what it is really until they say. I like the challenge.

– Kevin and Danny, you’ve known each other for a couple of years now. How has your friendship grown over that time?

D: I recently went to see Kevin’s house and I met his partner and she’s been friendly. I went to his house really to see his model railway system. I don’t actually like building model railways but I do like steam trains, so we’ve got a sort of common interest in that.

K: I’ll put it all in the bin one day and forget it all!

D: He gets frustrated about it cause his engine breaks down and he can’t fix it.

– Is there anything else you’d like to say about Archway or the people here?

K: Well, they’re very nice people. I get on well with quite a few.

D: I’m not saying Archway is full of people with problems, but everybody here is here because they’re not reaching people, not communicating with people.

S: I think everyone being in the same boat makes it easier to talk to people ‘cause you know that they are thinking basically the same as you. I think it’s reassuring.

D: I wish we could reach more people and get them to come. There must be loads of people out there, probably sat at home watching television just saying to themselves, “I wish I had somewhere to go and have a chat with someone.” I think there must be loads of people like that; they just haven’t found that route.