Does Rebecca Adlington need a Jelly?

In discussions about Rebecca Adlington’s announcement to retire, it was pointed out that elite athletes like Rebecca often struggle with normal life once they retire from their sport.

Speaking on Radio 5Live, Gail Emms, herself a world-class badminton player and Olympic silver medalist, told of her own challenges with depression and said that Rebecca would miss the routine and structure of training and of belonging to something bigger.

It’s not just elite athletes that face these problems, however. People who have spent decades working in large organisations and being driven by drumbeat of corporate life also miss the routine and structure and the sense of belonging. Depression is common as well (especially if they have been made redundant, adding feelings of rejection and failure), as they often struggle to replace the rhthym of employment and the camaraderie of the workplace. Working as an independent consultant or freelancer, as many do, can get terribly lonely.

One solution is to go along to a Jelly, a regular gathering where people sit together but work separately. It sounds a bit mad but it really works! It provides structure to the week and the personal contact and engagement of an office. It’s just like working in a corporate but you get to do exactly what you want (for a change!).

I belong to Kindred, a group for freelancers that runs a number of Jellies each week, so I have a place to go and be part of something.  This gang of independent but friendly, supportive and encouraging professionals often have the very skills I need for a particular problem or project. We share our joys and pains, our gripes and our gossip,  along with the cakes and sweets (Jelly Babies, of course). We even go to the pub afterwards!

So, maybe Rebecca needs to find a Jelly to help her adjust to her new life.  After all, now she’s not in training, she can indulge herself.

Kindred jellies are currently in London only, for more information go to

To find Jellies elsewhere in the country, go to the UK Jelly website

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