The north remembers: keeping our older neighbours warm through our Winter Wellbeing project

Winter Wellbeing

We’ve had an incredible response to the first month of our Winter Wellbeing project, which helps older neighbours aged 65 and over stay warm, active and better connected across our wonderful city. In this blog our Outreach Coordinator Rachael will tell us more about two of the cracking scousers she’s been fortunate enough to meet through our targeted outreach in the first six weeks of this year’s project.

Our targeted outreach work spans Liverpool’s neighbourhoods, and through our honest and caring approach we are able to have deep conversations with new neighbours, often signposting them towards organisations who can offer further support or handing out warm items like blankets and hot water bottles to those who need a little extra warmth through these cold months. It is also through having so many of these brilliant conversations that we’re able to connect neighbours up to our free core programmes, Social Clubs and Love Your Neighbour, giving older neighbours across Liverpool a chance to share some time, laughter and stories with younger neighbours they otherwise wouldn’t have met.

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Early in October I had the pleasure of meeting Marie (78) as part of our Winter Wellbeing project. Marie is also a part of our free Love Your Neighbour programme and had mentioned that she would appreciate some further support from us. I was able to visit Marie in her home to deliver her a hot water bottle and a new fleece blanket, and from the very first conversation that we had, I knew she was going to be quite the character!

“Ah a ‘botty’ (hot water bottle) - I love the colours – pink to make the toy-boys wink hey!”, she exclaimed! 

As we got chatting Marie shared with me her love for fantasy books and TV shows – including the hugely popular Game of Thrones! Marie shared with me that she actually owned the entire series on DVD but hadn’t been able to watch it in a while because she couldn’t get her DVD player to work. Being a huge Game of Thrones fan myself, and knowing how eager she must be to watch an episode or two on these steadily lengthening evenings, I endeavoured to give Marie a hand and do the ‘neighbourly gesture’ of figuring out how to get the next episode on for her – which I did!

“This is brilliant. I’m all cuddled up in my new blanket watching Game of Thrones now! Thank you so much!” 

This is just one of many fantastic moments I have on a daily basis in my role, but I love this story in particular as it so clearly demonstrates that even across generations we have so much more in common than we might at first think –  in this case it was the love of Game of Thrones! 

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Later in October I was able to do some door-knocking in Dovecot where I met a number of older neighbours, including James ‘Jimmy’ Cook. Born in Ashfield Gardens, on the famous ‘Scotty Road’, Jimmy had formally worked as a Boiler Engineer. Unfortunately, due to an accident in the early 90’s, Jimmy now has a number of long-term health conditions which at times make his daily acticities very difficult to manage. Despite this, Jimmy has an incredible spirit and an amazingly positive outlook on life.

“You just got to keep going - I’m always happy me… What else can you be?” Jimmy said this to me, wearing a cheeky grin- and I believe him! 

I told Jimmy about our Winter Wellbeing project, and asked him if there was anything he needed support with to help stay warm, active and connected over the colder months ahead.

“My feet are cold at night - I’ve always wanted a stone hot water bottle to keep warm because I have an allergy to rubber and can’t use regular hot water bottles”, he told me, “I just wouldn’t know where to look for one as I don’t have access to the internet…” 

After a bit of searching online I managed to purchase a suitable hot water bottle for Jimmy, and dropped by his home a few weeks later to give it to him- his face lit up when I handed it to him, and he thanked me with the utmost sincerity.

During our time together Jimmy and I have chatted about his former weightlifter days (Jimmy used to be a ‘two times a day’ gym’ed!), and how he is a devoted LFC supporter. Jimmy was even able to show me a wooden cigarette tin that he made when he was just 18! Magic.  

Jimmy is like many other older scousers across Liverpool, all of whom have many amazing stories to share. I feel privileged to have been able to experience some of Jimmy’s wisdom and warmth, and to be able to share it with so many other people through blogs likes this one.

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These are just two of the many older neighbours we are helping across Liverpool through our Winter Wellbeing project. If you know someone who is in need of some support to stay warm, active and connected during the winter then please get in touch with us on 0151 659 1789 (Option 1) or online via our Older Neighbour Referral Form.

Rachael Treacher

Posted by Rachael Treacher on Monday 25th November 2019

Rachael Treacher is the Volunteer and Outreach Officer at Liverpool Cares: she manages our community network of younger and older neighbours. 

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