During this year's Winter Wellbeing project we've got to know some incredible community groups, dedicated to supporting their communities: and we've seen the positive impact made by working together. An awareness and understanding of each other's resources and services enables us to help our older neighbours access the type of support that's right for them.
Speaking with Brian, the director at local charity Centre 70, he told us:
“It is of tremendous importance that community organisations work collaboratively to provide the full holistic wrap-around help needed by people, and to reach those most vulnerable, who otherwise might not access the services, like the elderly. Our impact includes increased access to rights and entitlements and improved mental health and wellbeing; through working with partners such as you, we are able to achieve that.”
Over the past 6 months we’ve connected our older neighbours to support from numerous community groups - from accessible puppet shows by Little Angel Theatre (see what neighbours like Edward and Sandra have to say about their wonderful experiences), to budgeting advice from ConnectingU, to food parcels from the Norwood & Brixton Foodbank (who also feature in our blog Winter Wellbeing - the final push). Two neighbours who we’ve put in touch with some brilliant organisations are Josh and Julie:
We visited Josh after he was referred to us by the Brixton Advice Centre. Whilst chatting and getting to know him better, he told us, “I don’t go out anymore, I haven’t been able to for a long time”. We’ve since introduced him to CoolTan Arts, a wonderful charity working to enhance mental wellbeing through creativity, and he's also planning to attend our next Pub Club.
Julie gave us a call earlier this year, worried about her financial situation and keeping warm over winter. As well as sending her a fuel grant and some warm items, we connected her to a member of the local Salvation Army Church foodbank, who visited her the very next day to provide a food parcel. We also put her in touch with Centre 70, who were able to provide her with food vouchers for the Norwood & Brixton Foodbank.
Our connections within the community enable us not only to support, but to connect with, many older neighbours – essentially acting as another form of outreach. In fact, many neighbours we’ve met this project have been referred to us by other organisations, including Bill and Gladys:
Bill was referred to us for some winter support by Link Age Southwark. To ensure he was paying the right amount for his winter bills, we referred him to SHINE, who have arranged a visit from an energy doctor, and helped him apply for a water discount. We also had the pleasure of meeting him when we delivered some warm items, and he told us, “meeting face-to-face is really the best way to get to know someone”. We agree Bill!
We got to know Gladys after Time and Talents referred her to us for some financial support. We found out her home was pretty cold, which was exacerbating her breathing problems. As her draughty windows seemed to be the main culprit, we gave her a small grant to go towards a thick pair of curtains. We also connected her with SHINE, who can give her plenty of tips for keeping her home energy efficient.
These are just a few examples of how community connections have helped us to support our older neighbours this Winter Wellbeing. In fact, 53% of the people who received interventions through the project were signposted or referred to charities and community groups as part of the help they received. Below are just some of the groups we’d like to say a huge thank you to – we look forward to our continuing collaborations!
Age UK Lambeth
Age UK Southwark
Alzheimer's Society Southwark
Black Prince Trust
British Red Cross
Brixton Advice Centre
Clapham Park Project
Contact the Elderly
Friends of the Elderly
GoodGym Lambeth & Southwark
Home Cooks Project
Link Age Southwark
Norwood & Brixton Foodbank
Salvation Army Church
Southwark Wellbeing Hub
The Posh Club
Time & Talents
(The names used in this blog have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.)
Posted by Deepika Patel on Thursday 29th March 2018
Deepika Patel is SLC's Outreach Officer. She previously volunteered at our social clubs while working as a pharmacist in Lambeth.