From October - March, we can support over 65s to stay warm, safe, active and connected this winter. Read below to find out how the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we're delivering our 10th Winter Wellbeing project.
Over the last decade, North London Cares’ Winter Wellbeing project has ensured that older neighbours across Camden and Islington stay warm, safe, active and connected during the most isolating season. Each year, depending on the severity of the weather and the changing needs of our community, the project looks a little bit different each time.
In partnership with Camden and Islington Public Health, Winter Wellbeing typically sees us knock on hundreds of our neighbours’ doors, connecting over 65s to younger locals for friendship, social activities and laughter, as well as supporting them to access vital health, financial, and housing advice, and help to keep their homes warm and bills low. Last year during our Winter Wellbeing project, North London Cares knocked on 517 doors, held over 700 conversations and provided 845 examples of support, connecting neighbours to social activities, health services and help in their communities.
This year, as further lockdown restrictions are put in place to curb the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, during what is already flu season, our approach to our 10th Winter Wellbeing is going to have to look a little different. We know that winter is already isolating: cold weather, extortionate heating bills, icy pavements and long, dark nights, can mean older neighbours feel trapped at home. Those factors are all relevant this year, but crucially, this winter also comes off the back of many of us having just endured the most isolating time of our lives.
During the last 6 months we’ve all felt loneliness. We’ve been unable to embrace loved ones, celebrate birthdays or dance at weddings. We’ve not been allowed to grieve at funerals, visit care homes or even share a smile with a stranger from behind a mask. These restrictions have affected older and younger people alike – but we know that many older people in our community have found them particularly hard.
At the beginning of lockdown, over 60s were asked to self isolate. Though restrictions eased, the closure of community centres, separation from friends and family, cancellation of hospital appointments, lack of access to the internet, sudden reliance on shopping services or mutual aid groups, and the ever present fear of falling ill, has dominated the lives of many older people. With another lockdown looming, this Winter Wellbeing we are committed to ensuring that our neighbours have all the support they need.
This Winter Wellbeing 2020/20, we will:
- Call over 800 older neighbours to connect them to organisations that will keep them warm, safe, active, and connected - and to let them know that we care and are here to support them.
- Support older neighbours in accessing benefits and housing advice, and opportunities to keep heating bills low.
- Help over 65s to access health services, information on where to get a flu jab and up to date advice during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Introduce neighbours to local groups/activities, like our Social Clubs, currently held online, over the phone, and in person when safe to do so.
- Match older neighbours with a younger local for regular phone calls, visits when feasible, conversation and friendship.
- Connect older people to help with organisations that can help with practical tasks like shopping and prescription pick ups.
- Arrange small grants and warm items for people in difficult circumstances.
How you or your organisation can get involved:
Make a referral for anyone over 65 who lives in Camden or Islington
Invite us to your team meetings to talk about the project and answer any questions
Share with us information about your services and how to refer to you
Display leaflets and posters
Add Winter Wellbeing information to any mail outs that get sent to your network (see attached for examples)
Encourage your teams to join our Community Partner mailing list
To speak to our Winter Wellbeing team please call 0207 118 3838 (option 3) or email [email protected]ndoncares.org.uk
Posted by Emily Groves on Tuesday 29th September 2020
Emily is Head of Programmes for North London Cares