Winter Wellbeing - why we're heading to local flu clinics

For many of us, winter is a time to get the woolly blankets out, cosy up on the sofa with pals and a cup of tea and binge watch Killing Eve.

But for many others, winter is a time of high heating bills, short days and icy pavements which can make getting out to do the weekly food shop daunting. On top of this, having little or no connection to local people and streets that are rapidly changing can feel alienating. It can be the most isolating and worrying time of the year.

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This is why Manchester Cares is launching its second Winter Wellbeing project. From Moston, Cheetham and Miles Platting, down to Ancoats, Hulme and Levenshulme, and everywhere in between, proactive outreach is how we connect with older neighbours who are most at risk of being left behind as the days get shorter and nights get colder.

We will be striking up conversations with our neighbours to ask them if there’s anything we can help with this winter to help them stay warm, active, healthy and connected. You’ll find us everywhere from Post Offices to supermarkets, meeting anyone over 65 who may need help staying warm this winter. 

As part of Winter Wellbeing we can support our older neighbours by:

  • Delivering a blanket or warm item of clothing to their door;
  • Connecting individuals with organisations that can help reduce bills and offer benefits and insulation advice;
  • Arranging small grants of up to £100 to help those who are struggling to keep their home warm or need a winter coat;
  • Inviting older neighbours to our 15 free Social Clubs each month, and other activities close by;
  • Introducing older neighbours to a young professional for weekly one to one visits as part of our Love Your Neighbour  programme.

We will continue to work with brilliant partners within the community to both reach our older neighbours and find them the right support. In particular during October and November, we will be reaching out to local GP Practices to pitch up and meet older neighbours that are invited to get a flu jab at their local drop in. Recently at a Practice in Hulme we met a wonderful older neighbour called Yvonne. Yvonne shared lots of her own top tips and home remedies for battling the flu – including grating ginger and lemon into hot water and topping up with a little spoonful of honey!

By striking up these conversations with people like Yvonne – focussing on people and building trust – we’re building long-lasting relationships and making interventions which can improve not only the winter for our older neighbours, but the rest of the year too. Last year we spoke to 354 older neighbours about the project, going on to make 178 individual interventions. You can read more in the final report, here.

We’d love your help to reach and support even more of our isolated neighbours this year. If you could invite us to an event you’re holding, or you know an older neighbour who might benefit from a chat about keeping warm and connected over the coldest months of the year, please give us a call on 0161 207 0800 or email [email protected].

Amy Saunders

Posted by Amy Saunders on Monday 8th October 2018

Amy is Manchester Cares' Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator.