Winter Wellbeing: don’t stay in this winter, reach out

As the cold air approaches and the days get shorter, we all start to brace ourselves for the winter months. For many of us that means shopping for a new coat, switching evenings out for cosy nights in and turning the thermostat up a few notches. But what if those small changes weren’t so easy make? What if high fuel costs and draughty windows made it difficult to heat your home, or the cold whether made it nearly impossible for you to leave the house? This is the case for many older people we meet in the community, often making winter the most isolating and lonely time of the year. That’s why our annual Winter Wellbeing project, which is now in its seventh year, is an essential part of North London Cares.

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Winter Wellbeing is our proactive outreach effort to help people over 65 stay warm, active, healthy and connected during the winter months. Working together with Camden and Islington councils, we’ll speak to hundreds of older neighbours that may be at risk of isolation, through door knocking, community outreach and engagement with local organisations. We’ll be chatting to people in supermarkets, pharmacies, food banks and GP surgeries to introduce them to the project and to invite them to keep in touch and join our activities.

Last year we were able to speak to 1,042 older neighbours in Camden and Islington. In total 324 people received further help – or “interventions” – as a result of those initial interactions. We delivered 91 blankets or items of warm clothing and distributed 30 small grants of up to £100 to people in difficult circumstances. Even if neighbours didn’t require further assistance, a knock on the door to check in was a great reminder that they are valued and thought of by the community. The project allows us to meet people who may otherwise slip through the net, and through our conversations last year we were able to introduce our Love Your Neighbour programme and free social clubs to 179 new older neighbours.

This year Winter Wellbeing starts a little earlier, and from October to March we will:

  • Deliver blankets or warm clothing to those feeling the cold;
  • Connect people to organisations who will help keep their homes warm and safe, provide benefits advice and help reduce bills;
  • Invite older neighbours to our free social clubs held throughout Camden and Islington;
  • Introduce our Love Your Neighbour programme to people who would like more one-to-one time;
  • Offer information on local health services and advice on where to get a flu jab;
  • Arrange small grants for people in difficult circumstances who are struggling to keep their homes warm.

As our biggest outreach project, Winter Wellbeing relies on us working together with the community to reach some of the most isolated people. If you’d like to find out how you can help, or if you know an older neighbour who might benefit from a chat about keeping warm this winter please give us a call on 0207 188 3838 or email [email protected]

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Roxi Rustem

Posted by Roxi Rustem on Monday 16th October 2017

Roxi is North London Cares' Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator

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