Thanks to partnership working, funding and community spirit, the One Colchester Winter Resilience Campaign has been a huge success, with over 500 winter packs being distributed over the winter months to Colchester’s most vulnerable.
A Winter Resilience Steering Group, chaired by Community360, who co-delivers the project, brings together representatives from the public and voluntary sector to facilitate action over the winter months.
Roadshows were delivered in the community, information events and support were available through the One Colchester Hub, and winter packs were distributed to those affected by the cold weather, including families on low incomes, people living with respiratory conditions and long-term health conditions.
Jess Leonard, Strategic Head of Projects at Community360 said: “It is humbling every year to see just how many people in our community are benefiting from the Winter Resilience Campaign. A staggering 3700 people were supported through the Warmer Homes Project alone. We were able to conduct outreach in the community, distribute winter packs, warm clothing and provide food and clothing vouchers.”
She added: “In total we were able to support over 7774 residents who received assistance during the project. This included giving advice and help with accessing additional grants, bursaries and accessing support for hardship via local charity groups. Our Social Prescribers also intervened with cases of social isolation, providing new slippers to those at risk of trips and falls and distributing hygiene and food packs to patients being discharged from hospital who needed extra support to return to their homes.”
Local groups and charities also benefited from the project receiving bursaries to help with community projects. From running social groups, helping with outreach to providing hot meals. The Essex Integration Project, Mercury Theatre, MercuryTots and Seniors Clubs, Sanctuary Housing, Beacon House and Heads2Minds all received funding.
“The Mercury Theatre was delighted to receive a grant from the Winter Resilience Fund. Over the cold months we welcomed the community in as a Warm Space, but also wanted to offer more for Colchester residents struggling with the ongoing cost of living crisis.” Said Abbi Roberts, Development Director at the Mercury Theatre.
She added: “The grant allowed us to offer bursary places for our weekly tot’s classes, parent and baby/toddler sessions which focused on sensory development and creative play, as well as Seniors Social Club our weekly social group for people 55+ who enjoy the creative arts. Feedback from the participants was amazing and many said having a weekly social activity to look forward to was a life line during an otherwise tough time.”
Every year the Mercury engages over 30,000 people, of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, through a wide range of creative participation activities. They partner with several local community groups, charities and schools to engage the hardest to reach in our community.
Tracy Rudling, CEO at Community360 and Chair of One Colchester said: “The Winter Resilience Campaign shows the importance of collaborative working, enabling partners to provide much-needed help and support over the winter months to the people of Colchester. I would like to thank everyone who has been part of delivering this amazing project, from our partners, local charities, groups and our volunteers.
The success of the One Colchester Hub and its programme of activities, has also demonstrated how collaborating to establish a community focal point can make a real difference to people living in our city.”
She added: “It has been particularly tough this year for older and younger people alike with their finances just not stretching to cover basics due to the huge increase in food, heating and electricity costs. I am so grateful that as a city we have the foresight to be able to put in place support to help those who are really struggling. However, our work does not finish just because winter is over, the cost-of-living crisis is not going away which means there are still some challenging times ahead.”
If you are a business, organisation or charity and would like to get involved with this year’s Winter Resilience Campaign, please get in touch. The organisation is looking for organisations who can help with volunteering, sponsorship and support. Contact Community360 0n 01206 505250 or email email@example.com
Photo Shows: Mercury Theatre Senior Social Club and Tots Club– Photo Credit Pamela Raith