Added on: 6th November, 2019 by Christina_41410
The cold winter months are an extremely dangerous time for older people, especially those who live alone. The Kent Community Foundation Surviving Winter Campaign aims to tackle social isolation and make winter less lonely for older people, as well as helping them stay well, healthy and independent
As autumn draws to a close and the evenings get longer and colder, older people are particularly vulnerable, as cold weather increases their risk of illnesses and social isolation.
Projections indicate that there will be a far greater percentage of people living alone in Kent and Medway in later life than there has ever been in the past, and it is particularly important for people living alone to be involved in the local community. There is plenty of evidence to show that social isolation leads to poor mental health, physical deterioration and generally a poorer quality of life and prognosis for the future.
Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation comments: “We want to make winter less lonely for older people as well as helping them stay well, healthy and independent. Kent Community Foundation already supports projects throughout Kent and Medway that address the everyday challenges faced by elderly people and we hope that donations to the Surviving Winter Campaign will allow us to support even more good causes.”
“If just 10% of everyone, in receipt of the Winter Fuel Payment, in Kent and Medway were to donate £100 to the Surviving Winter Campaign, we would have a Fund of more than £3 million to help vulnerable elderly people in the county. Therefore, we are asking those who receive the payment, but don’t rely on it, to donate it to others. But you don’t have to be over 65 to give to this campaign, anyone who wants to give, even a small amount, will be making a significant difference to vulnerable, elderly people in the county.”
Josephine McCartney continues: “Loneliness is often accompanied by depression, and cold wet weather, and shorter days can make it more difficult for older people to leave the house, particularly those with mobility issues. This can mean that people opt to stay indoors, all alone, day after day, and the longer they are isolated, the harder it becomes to leave.”
Money donated to the Surviving Winter Campaign will contribute to projects that support elderly and isolated people including; lunch clubs and social events to help people stay in touch and keep active, workshops and advice, transport, befriending services and schemes helping elderly residents with tasks such as shopping or gardening.
These projects have received funding from Kent Community Foundation;
Ashford Volunteer Centre
Since 2016 Kent Community Foundation has awarded grants of £18,500 to Ashford Volunteer Centre. Its mission is to have a society where everyone who wants to volunteer can do so in order to create a stronger community. For many isolated people in the Borough the charity is a lifeline and keeps them in touch with their local community and other people through services including a community car and befriending.
Over the last ten years Involve Kent has received grants totalling £75,000 from Kent Community Foundation to coordinate support for people living in Maidstone and Malling who need that little extra help to stay well and live at home. The support includes, transport, gardening, shopping, social events and help at home to maintain quality of life and improve wellbeing. The ethos at Involve Kent is to build on the strengths of the community, promoting good neighbour and village schemes, encouraging volunteering and connecting people to support one another.
wHoo Cares is a community interest company, created to support individuals on the Hoo Peninsula. wHoo Cares help people stop feeling isolated, lonely and cut off from their local community and has received £10,500 from Kent Community Foundation. Transport is an issue on the peninsula, and wHoo Cares get people to medical appointments, take them shopping and out to local clubs and groups, so they can expand their social circle. Volunteers also pop in for a cup of tea and a chat or help with practical things like picking up a prescription or bringing fish and chips to someone who is house bound.
The Kent Community Foundation Surviving Winter Campaign asks those, who are able, to donate their Winter Fuel Payment, or whatever they can, to help older people across Kent and Medway.
Donations can be made online at www.kentcf.org.uk/give/surviving-winter or by cheque to Kent Community Foundation (FAO Susan Blay and clearly marked on the back for the Surviving Winter Campaign with your name and address) to KENT COMMUNITY FOUNDATION, Evegate Park Barn, Evegate Business Park, Ashford, Kent, TN25 6SX.