The sunny weather and spring skies are finally upon us! And as we look back on our first Winter Wellbeing project, we’re delighted with what's been achieved.
Shortly after Liverpool Cares began last October, we started our pro-active project. Its aim was to reach out and support people over the age of 65 to stay warm, active, healthy and connected during what can be some of the most isolating months of the year.
We achieved this through a combination of outreach work in communities and neighbourhoods, by chatting to older neighbours in supermarkets, shopping centres, lunch clubs and community events, and by door knocking at sheltered housing units.
We spoke to 566 people aged over 65 about how we could support them through the Winter Wellbeing project, leading to 257 direct interventions. These interventions included the delivery of warm items like gloves, blankets and hot water bottles to those people who felt cold in their homes. We also awarded nine small grants of up to £100 to people struggling with fuel poverty and rapidly changing circumstances, and referred people to organisations including services offering advice about how to change energy providers.
We also identified potential older neighbours who showed an interest in being matched as a part of our Love Your Neighbour programme, which seeks to create lasting one-to-one friendships between older and younger neighbours and launches this May. And we signed up older neighbours to our free programme of Social Clubs, which runs around the year and offers myriad exciting ways for older and younger people to share time, laughter and new experiences.
Take John, 74, for example – he's been enjoying our Social Clubs programme since we met him in February. John was referred to us by Citizens Advice Liverpool as someone who wanted to take part in social activities and make more friends. On attending his first social club – a busy board game evening in Wavertree – he met younger neighbour Rafael. John (originally from Cape Verde) and Rafael bonded over their native Portuguese language and discussed their love of food, wine and music: they both left that club saying they’d love to lead a Portuguese-inspired social club together.
Since we first met John in February, he’s now become a regular at social clubs, attending nine so far, with many more in his diary! And at a St Patrick’s Day social club in March at the Baltic Market, John told us, “I’ve never been here before, I’ve been living in a different world and you’re showing me all of these amazing new places!”
The Winter Wellbeing project is about kindness, sincerity and empathy, creating many trustful and long-lasting relationships that didn’t exist before. We listened (often over many cups of tea!), signposted, and have referred older neighbours to many of the other brilliant organisations here in Liverpool that support older people. And we will continue to keep in touch with our older neighbours, checking in with them as our hard work continues.
It’s not all about numbers but they do help form part of the picture – have a look at the infographic and full report below to learn more about our approach and why it matters at this time of change.
Posted by Rachael Treacher on Thursday 18th April 2019
Rachael Treacher is the Volunteer and Outreach Officer at Liverpool Cares: she manages our community network of younger and older neighbours.