Watch out winter, Winter Wellbeing is back!

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It’s getting to that time of year again when we swap nights out for nights in, curled up on the sofa with the heating on full – when we perhaps treat ourselves to a new coat or over-indulge in hot, belly-pleasing food. Winter might be a welcome break for many of us who lead busy London lives, but for many others, it can be the most isolating time of the year. Living alone in a draughty flat with the cold weather making it nearly impossible to go out,  can cause fuel bills to skyrocket – and if you’re not connected to the people and places around you winter can become very bleak.

This is why since South London Cares began, we’ve been running our annual Winter Wellbeing project as a proactive outreach initiative to connect with older people in Southwark and Lambeth who may be at risk of feeling left behind as the days get shorter and nights get colder.

This October we commence our fifth Winter Wellbeing project and aim to continue our work with brilliant partners within the community to ensure our older neighbours stay warm, active, healthy and connected. 

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We’ve worked with GP practices, pharmacies, local businesses and organisations, sheltered housing units and hospitals to reach some of the most isolated older people in the boroughs but there is always more that can be done and more that we want to do. This year we’re looking to continue this work but also partner with housing associations and tenants and residents' associations, as well as leafleting wider areas – to let all ages know about our work in the hope that our message reaches some of the hardest to reach.

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What we can offer from October to March for people aged 65 or over in Southwark and Lambeth is to:

  • Deliver blankets, hats, socks and gloves to older people who are struggling to keep warm;
  • Support people whose circumstance are particularly difficult with winter grants of up to £100 which can be used for fuel bills, winter coats and other items to help with the cold;
  • Help connect people to organisations who can provide benefits and energy saving advice as well as help at home with broken boilers, changing providers and installing draught prevention measures;
  • Sign people up to our free monthly Social Clubs which run year round – including technology workshops, dances and visits to local museums and galleries;
  • Match older neighbours up with younger volunteers for weekly visits through our Love Your Neighbour programme for friendship, company and a chat.

What we do works because the whole community gets involved. Last year we held 1,420 conversations with older neighbours about the project. Of those people, we made 715 individual interventions for those who needed help staying warm, active, healthy and connected. 30 people in urgent need received a winter grant of up to £100 and 277 warm items were delivered to people across the boroughs. We went along to 50 community events and referred 237 people on to other brilliant local organisations – you can read more about last year's project in our report here.

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As our biggest outreach project, Winter Wellbeing relies on us working together with the community to reach some of the people most at risk of isolation. If you’d like to find out how you can help, or if you know an older neighbour who might benefit from a chat about keeping warm this winter, please give us a call on 0207 118 0404 or email [email protected]

Elyssa Kill

Posted by Elyssa Kill on Wednesday 3rd October 2018

Elyssa leads on outreach at South London Cares, as well as co-ordinating our volunteers. 

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