From October 2017 to March 2018, South London Cares delivered its fourth and most successful Winter Wellbeing project: a proactive outreach effort designed to help people over the age of 65 in Southwark and Lambeth keep warm, active, heathy and connected during some of the most isolating and difficult months of the year.
Over the course of the winter we were out in the community speaking to people face-to-face at GP surgeries, supermarkets, pharmacies and on people’s doorsteps to ensure our older neighbours felt connected and visible as the days got colder and darker.
As well as providing interventions that both help to prevent and solve problems, the project received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from those who didn’t require further assistance. It is evidence that our project is a means of providing reassurance, and strengthens the sense of community.
We spoke to 1,420 older neighbours and of that number supported 367 with 715 different interventions including new social connections, housing repairs, energy advice and financial support.
Take Omar, 73, who we met while door-knocking in Streatham. Omar was new to the area, though had previously lived close by in Brixton for 50 years. He was initially only interested in a blanket, hat and scarf to ward off the chilly weather. But as he got to know us he warmed to the idea of having someone visit once a week for a chat. In March 2018, we matched Omar up with younger neighbour Matilda, 24, through our Love Your Neighbour project – they now meet up every week.
This is only one example of why this type of proactive community engagement and outreach is so important: there are hundreds more. If you’d like to know the stories and see the full picture, we hope you’ll take a look at our report and infographic below. The report lays out how we approached this ambitious project, and its impact. It also includes recommendations for future projects to ensure we continue to deliver high quality and relevant help to combat isolation and loneliness.
The successes of Winter Wellbeing 2017/18 would not have been possible without the support of London Catalyst, The Big Give, Ajahma Charitable Trust and scores of individual small donors. We’re so grateful for everyone’s support. And thank you to all the brilliant local organisations that work across Southwark and Lambeth, who helped us support our older neighbours to get where they wanted to be: leading happier and more connected lives.
Posted by Elyssa Kill on Thursday 12th April 2018
Elyssa leads on outreach at South London Cares, as well as co-ordinating our volunteers.