Two winter warmer schemes in Colchester and Tendring have each received £100,000 from the Suffolk and North East Essex health and care system to help those in need stay warm. The initiatives also aim to reduce isolation, promote better health and prevent hospital admissions for non-emergency matters.
In Tendring, ‘May The Warmth Be With You’ provides packs to vulnerable people such as the elderly, infirm or young families, containing warm clothing, a hot water bottle and electric heaters. As well as warmth, food is part of the scheme, with lunch packs being provided to schools. Local businesses, such as Wilkos and the East of England Co-op, have supported the project by providing items for the packs.
Sharon Alexander, Chief Officer of Community Voluntary Services Tendring (CVST), said: “This is a real example of ‘Can Do’ in the local community and it’s a scheme we know our local population really value. As well as providing essential products to stay warm, our volunteers will be conducting door-drops with winter packs in some of the most deprived areas and looking at any support residents may need. This will be invaluable in particularly bad weather.
“In addition, our partners will be running specialist projects to ensure support is given to all age groups. This includes homelessness projects, stroke services, projects with Barnardos to work with low income families and children as well as schemes with schools and nurseries to promote good health.”
People who need assistance, or who want to refer others for help, should contact CVST on 01255 425692. Tendring District Council’s Careline is supporting the scheme by taking any emergency calls from vulnerable people, such as if their heating breaks down. The Winter Line can help to co-ordinate support in situations like those, or for example if someone is housebound due to the weather and cannot pick up essentials such as food. Careline can be contacted out of hours – for severe situations only – on 01255 222022.
In Colchester, Community 360 is co-ordinating a winter programme through One Colchester, the local strategic partnership. More than 20 organisations are coming together to support local people in need of help in the town and surrounding areas. They will be:
- issuing winter packs to community members;
- managing a fund for voluntary and community groups to access to meet increased winter demand for their services;
- conducting roadshows and events in local neighbourhoods;
- improving access to transport and community services for people discharged from Colchester Hospital and needing support at home.
Tracy Rudling, Chief Executive Officer of Community 360, said: “We are contributing to improving the experience in the Discharge Lounge at Colchester Hospital with additional volunteer support and providing a more relaxing and enjoyable experience while people wait to go home.
“We are also recruiting new volunteers to assist patients, providing social interaction, activities such as games, puzzles and nail painting. There is a team working on brightening up the area with a new mural.
“The Discharge Lounge will further benefit from Community 360’s Slipper Exchange, providing new slippers to prevent slips, trips and falls and from Winter Warmth Packs as part of the Winter Resilience Project.
“Patients discharged from Colchester Hospital can benefit from Community Transport and the Home from Hospital Befriending Scheme where volunteers support a patient for up to six weeks once they have returned home.”
Tracy added: “None of this would be possible without a collaborative approach from many partners and volunteers who we truly thank for their continued enthusiasm and support.”
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