Every year for the past six years North London Cares has delivered a major Winter Wellbeing programme – a pro-active outreach effort to help our older neighbours stay warm, active, healthy and connected during the most isolating time of year.
We do this because we know that while London is an amazing city, full of opportunity, it can also feel isolating – and the colder, darker months can leave people feeling left alone and left behind.
We also know that, with increasing pressures on health and social services, especially during the winter, the role of community is more important than ever in helping ensure our neighbours stay in touch with the people, places and provisions around them.
For those reasons, this year our Winter Wellbeing project was our most targeted and integrated to date. Through various interactions and interventions on people's doorsteps, in chemists, GP surgeries and supermarkets and across a broad and varied programme of social events, young professionals shared time, laughter and new experiences with their older neighbours, helping everyone to feel valued, vibrant and visible.
And through our core team we were also able to make scores of referrals to local services provided by our partner councils and health agencies, so that older people in Camden and Islington didn't fall through the gaps.
This year, Winter Wellbeing took on a more community-led feel than ever, with contributions from Camden and Islington Public Health, The Big Give, London Catalyst, Octopus Giving and scores of individual small donors making the work possible. We're so grateful for everyone's support.
We hope you'll read the full report, with details of our approach and a breakdown of the impact the project had – or scan the infographic which visualises some of those results.
And as the challenge of winter pressures deepens over the coming years, we hope that the potential of community and of connecting people to their neighbours for a little extra comfort and companionship offers a blueprint for a practical way forward.
Posted by Alex Smith on Thursday 13th April 2017
Alex is NLC's founder and CEO.