We all know that this was a tough, long winter. But for many older people in Manchester, short days, icy nights and day after day of snow could prove doubly hard – and even pose a major risk to people's relationships, health and wellbeing.
That's why Manchester Cares has just completed our first ever Winter Wellbeing project – to help older neighbours to stay warm, active, healthy and connected during what can otherwise be the most isolating time of the year.
Through a range of targeted outreach activities including speaking to older people at supermarkets, GP surgeries and pharmacies, knocking on neighbours' doors, working with partners and speaking at events, we connected hundreds of older Mancunians to services, friendships and activities, including through Manchester Cares' Social Clubs and new Love Your Neighbour programme.
And through those interactions – conversations with amazing, fascinating neighbours - we also helped people by distributing blankets, warm items, cold weather information and, for those in the most urgent need, small grants.
The project focused on four wards in the city experiencing the isolation that can go hand-in-hand not only with the cold weather, but also with rapid community change. Those areas were Ancoats, Miles Platting, Newton Heath and Moston.
We hope you will read the report into this exciting work, which has already helped our social clubs to grow and scores of older neighbours in Manchester to feel part of Manchester Cares.
Those neighbours include Jim, who we met door knocking in December. Jim hadn't been out and about on the bus for six years, preferring to stay as close to home as possible, but early this year he joined his new friends at The Sharp Project - by bus - and shared photographs he had taken 60 years ago. Jim told us, “Wow, this was just spectacular! I want to live here. Definitely worth braving the bus for.”
If you're inspired by Jim's story, or the other stories in this report, please do sign up to be part of Manchester Cares too. We're excited to introduce you to our many fascinating older neighbours.
Posted by Kathryn Cheetham on Friday 13th April 2018
Kathryn is Manchester Cares' Programmes Coordinator, responsible for building our programmes from the ground up.