For many of us winter means new coats, hot chocolate, duvet days and festivities. But this isn’t the case for everyone. For many of our older neighbours in Southwark and Lambeth it can mean freezing days and long dark nights at home, and with unpredictable weather conditions and icy floors, leaving the home can become increasingly daunting. With high fuel bills, reduced mobility, and less chance for interaction, loneliness and isolation will be on the increase.
But winter doesn’t have to be a difficult time for our older neighbours – that’s why we’re kicking off our fourth annual Winter Wellbeing project. The project plays an important role in identifying and reaching older neighbours at risk of isolation through pro-active outreach and engagement.
Some of our most isolated older neighbours may not leave their homes unless it’s to attend a doctor’s appointment, pick up a prescription or buy groceries. Therefore, as in previous years, we’ll be talking to older neighbours on their doorsteps, at doctors’ surgeries and in pharmacies and supermarkets. This year we’re starting the project a little earlier, in October – to help us to meet people before the darkest days set in. We’ve already struck up partnerships with a number of local GP surgeries to attend their free flu jab clinics – a great way to meet many of our wonderful older neighbours and kick off this year’s work!
Last year, through the Winter Wellbeing project, we spoke face-to-face with 1,280 people. We were able to distribute 20 small grants of up to £100 to older neigbours struggling with keeping warm, and we delivered 88 blankets or items of warm clothing to help keep people snug in their homes. Through our referrals, a total of 354 people received help with housing issues, social care, heating, financial questions – and our own social activities that can help bring the best bits of life to people even during the toughest time of the year.
This year we will repeat this much-needed work by:
We do this work so that older neigbours in Southwark and Lambeth can stay warm, active, healthy and connected over the winter. And every year, we meet new people who inspire us to continue to grow South London Cares and the activities people can be part of.
With your help, we can make this Winter Wellbeing project the biggest and most effective yet. If you’d like to partner with us, support the project with a donation or if you know any neighbours who may benefit from the work please email [email protected] or call 0207 118 0404.
Posted by Elyssa Kill on Monday 25th September 2017
Elyssa leads on outreach at South London Cares, as well as co-ordinating our volunteers.