Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000

Description

“Sometimes I go days without a conversation.”

This is unfortunately the reality for many people living in London which, despite being one of the most dynamic places in the world, can also be anonymous, lonely and isolating.

Many older people in London have deep roots in their community but few connections. Meanwhile, young professionals – often graduates from across the country and around the world – can have hundreds of connections, including through social media, but fewer roots in their communities.

South London Cares tackles isolation and loneliness by breaking down generational barriers and bringing together older Londoners and their younger neighbours. In the coming months, South London Cares will start running its Winter Wellbeing project, which will help older neighbours in Southwark and Lambeth stay warm, active, healthy and connected during the colder, darker months which can leave many older people feeling alone and isolated.

Last year, one of the people who was supported through the Winter Wellbeing project was Patricia, who told South London Cares “I've not been out of the house properly in a long time and I often feel anxious when I do – I'm used to the TV for company”. After linking her up to her first social club, her outlook changed and Patricia said “I've had so much fun today, and I'm giddy… because I know my life has just changed”. South London Cares matched Patricia with a young professional volunteer who now visits her once a week for a little extra company and friendship.

Aviva’s Community Fund would help the Winter Wellbeing project to reach some of the most isolated older neighbours in Southwark and Lambeth, in particular people who might otherwise fall through the gaps and be missed by mainstream services. Tackling loneliness and isolation is a serious challenge, but it is one that the Winter Wellbeing project is working to overcome.

If awarded, funding would support the core costs of the Winter Wellbeing project. This includes printing and distributing 2,500+ flyers containing cold weather advice, buying and handing out warm clothing and blankets to people who feel cold in their homes and employing a seasonal outreach officer to proactively identify people aged over 65 at risk of isolation and through a combination of conversations, provisions, referrals and friendships.

The key aim of the project is to help people over 65 keep warm, active, healthy and connected over the winter months. Following on from last years successful Winter Wellbeing project, this year South London Cares has set the following targets:

Warm: To provide at least 90 items of warm clothing and blankets to those who need it.

Active: To hold 50 outreach events and refer people to South London Cares social clubs and Love Your Neighbour scheme, plus other local community groups and exercise classes.

Healthy: To distribute up to 2,500 flyers with advice on how to stay warm during winter, as well as sign-posting to other services.

Connected: To hold 1,200 face-to-face conversations, as well as 350 deeper interventions in order to proactively identify older neighbours who may be isolated and alone.

South London Cares

Location: Lambeth, London, United Kingdom

South London Cares already does brilliant work to tackle loneliness and isolation, and this project will be especially important to reach out to older neighbours over the lonelier winter months. I've personally enjoyed getting to know my older neighbours and be more involved in my own community.
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