A new approach to building connection and friendships across our city

Over the past 3 years, Manchester Cares’ Winter Wellbeing project has helped older neighbours across the City of Manchester stay warm, safe, active and connected during the coldest time of the year: October to March. Each year, depending on the severity of the weather and the changing needs of our community, the project has looked a little bit different.

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During the last six months, we’ve all felt loneliness. We’ve not been able to embrace loved ones, celebrate birthdays or dance at weddings. We’ve not been allowed to grieve at funerals, visit care homes or even share a smile with a stranger from behind a mask. These restrictions have affected older and younger people alike – but we know that many older people in our community have found them particularly hard.

This year, as further restrictions are put in place to curb the threat of coronavirus, we will again be adapting our outreach to help better connect our communities. Although we know that isolation can be exacerbated in winter, we also know that its debilitating impact is felt year-round. That’s why we’re retiring the seasonal Winter Wellbeing project, so that we can deploy our proactive outreach year-round. We’ll do this because we know that over recent months, the closure of community centres, separation from friends and family, cancellation of hospital appointments, lack of access to the internet, sudden reliance on shopping services or mutual aid groups, and the ever-present fear of falling ill are issues that have dominated the lives of many older people. In that context, we’re re-doubling our efforts to help older neighbours find the connection they need.

So Starting This Month Through Our Year Round Outreach Manchester Cares Will
  • Call hundreds of older neighbours to check-in and connect them to our virtual and phone-in social clubs (and face-to-face when it’s safe to do so).
  • Support friendships that have been made as part of Love Your Neighbour and Phone A Friend to continue to have regular phone calls, conversation and friendship (and visits when possible to do so safely).
  • Support older neighbours to navigate tech through our one-to-one Zoom tutorials and other practical learning sessions. 
  • Connect older people to help with practical tasks like shopping and prescription deliveries.
  • Help over 65s to access health services, information on where to get a flu jab and up-to-date advice during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Arrange small grants to help people in difficult circumstances overcome the barriers to connection.
  • Introduce neighbours to other local activities hosted by our wonderful partners in the local community, as well as support with benefits and housing advice.
So Starting This Month Through Our Year Round Outreach Manchester Cares Will 1
  • Invite us to your team meetings or outreach events to talk about our programmes and answer any questions
  • Display leaflets and posters 
  • Add Manchester Cares’ information to any mail-outs that get sent to your network 
  • Encourage your teams to join our Community Partner mailing list
  • Share with us information about your services and how to refer to you

To find out more about our work please call 0161 207 0800 or email Amy on [email protected] 

Amy Saunders

Posted by Amy Saunders on Friday 16th October 2020

Amy is Manchester Cares' Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator.