Christmas is over but the job of connecting neighbours is just beginning

Happy New Year from Manchester Cares!

We hope you’re feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after Christmas and New Year break. For many of us the festive period is a chance to catch up with friends and family, reflect on the past year, and take some time to set goals and make plans for the year ahead. We rest, eat and connect with loved ones that we might not see throughout the year.

But for many our older neighbours it can mean staying indoors to avoid the freezing weather and icy streets, long dark days spent in front of the TV, and local cafes and shops reducing their hours or closing.

Similarly, young professionals can feel the void of not being around family and friends in January when the cheers, mince pies, and parties are replaced by dark mornings, wet commutes, and catching up at work.

This can increase those the feelings of loneliness that many people have not just at Christmas but year round. And it can make leaving the house in January to connect with others seem even more daunting.

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Last month, That’s Manchester featured Manchester Cares in a short film about fighting back against loneliness and isolation, alongside older neighbour Tommy (83). Tommy talked about how a distance from others “breeds that melancholy that just overtakes you” and “eats away at you” over time.

Through our nascent Social Clubs, Love Your Neighbour and Outreach programmes Manchester Cares has started to tackle this isolation and loneliness amongst older people and young professionals alike in the city of Manchester. Our programmes – which we’ll be sharing more information about very soon – will bring people together all year round so neighbours can make new friends and spend time together in our rapidly changing city.

We’ll be out on the streets from Hulme to Moston to Blackley doing outreach over the next few week as part of our first Winter Wellbeing project – helping people over the age of 65 to stay warm, active and connected. We can deliver warm clothing to wrap up in, we can give out small grants to help pay for heating bills, and we’ll be inviting people to our upcoming fun, friendly and free activities locally.

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Then, throughout 2018, everyone in our community network will be able to meet up with new friends at our social clubs, to check out the latest plays with younger neighbours, try their hand at 3D printing, and dance the night away together.

Each club will give younger and older neighbours a chance to learn from one another, to laugh, to tell stories and to build the types of friendships and social networks that really matter in life – not just at Christmas, but all year round.

Watch Manchester Cares on That’s Manchester below, find out more about why we do what we do, and our plans to reduce isolation and loneliness in 2018 – and sign up to be part of it:

Kathryn Cheetham

Posted by Kathryn Cheetham on Friday 12th January 2018

Kathryn is Manchester Cares' Programmes Coordinator, responsible for building our programmes from the ground up.

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