Reach out: help your older neighbours stay warm, active, healthy and connected this winter

How do our neighbours find out about what we do? It’s a question we’re often asked by North London Cares’ volunteers and other people who support our work. 

Outreach involves plugging into existing community networks and spending time out and about in the community to talk to neighbours about becoming part of North London Cares. It’s is an important part of what we do, a year-round activity that cranks up a gear over winter through our Winter Wellbeing project.

Now in its sixth year, Winter Wellbeing is a major community outreach effort in Camden and Islington during the height of winter, ensuring older neighbours in our home boroughs are staying warm, active, healthy and connected over the most isolating time of the year. 

Last year young people had conversations with 1,710 of our neighbours. 441 received further specific follow up connection, including enjoying to our social clubs and new one-to-one friendships through our Love Your Neighbour programme. 

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We also referred scores of neighbours for home improvements and other interventions from our local Councils. And we distributed 71 blankets and 30 fuel grants to those who needed a bit of extra help to keep the heating on. 

There are times when we meet neighbours who have slipped through the gaps in statutory services, like Deborah in Mildmay who told us that because of the fuel grant she received from us she could put the heating on for the first time in a month. 

Most neighbours we talk to don’t require any follow up help but are reassured by a chat and knowing they have someone to rely on. Dorothy in Tufnell Park told us last year that “knowing there is a safety net is a weight off your mind”.

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Winter Wellbeing isn’t just about helping our neighbours access what they need to live, it’s about building the connections that make life worth living. Sam came to our Tuesday night film club after we met him and he told us “This is great, it's so much better than watching a film alone.”

So this winter, over the coming three months, we’ll be knocking on some 1,500 doors and speaking to hundreds of neighbours in community spaces like pharmacies, GPs and community centres and:

  • Delivering blankets to those who are feeling the cold;
  • Supporting neighbours whose circumstances are particularly difficult and drastically changing, with small grants;
  • Helping people to access the healthcare and local authority services they need;
  • Inviting older neighbours along to our Social Clubs – dinner parties, film nights and tech workshops;
  • Asking whether they’d like one of their younger neighbours to visit them through our Love Your Neighbour programme.

If you’d like to be involved or know of any neighbours that might benefit from a chat about staying warm and well this winter drop me and email on [email protected] or give me a call on 0207 118 3838. 

And if you’d like to support this work, you can sign up to double your donation through our Big Give Christmas Challenge.

Joe Cox

Posted by Joe Cox on Monday 21st November 2016

Joe is North London Cares' Outreach & Volunteer Officer.

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