Warmth beyond our walls: Combatting loneliness this winter

Although Christmas is often the chance to spend time and connect with family and friends, in retirement the winter months can feel daunting and it’s not uncommon to feel lonely or isolated at home.

As the colder weather and reduced daylight hours are creeping in, it’s natural for our customers in later living to feel a sense of detachment from their social circle.

According to Age UK, more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 are living alone. While over a million older people say that they can go a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour, or a family member.

We understand the impact that feeling lonely can have on your friends and loved ones, including the effect on their health and wellbeing. So, we want to reassure our landlords and tenants that they will be supported and remain connected throughout this period, with direct access to a friendly face.

This winter we want to highlight more of the services which are available to family members and friends who live in our homes across the UK, in the hope that our communities feel a sense of connection this Christmas!

We have created a directory of charities who are offering their help, support, and engaging projects across the UK to tackle loneliness this winter. The contacts listed below are support networks who operate in locations where our homes are based.

Please reach out to any of the organisations below if you, or someone you know are feeling isolated this Winter.

Northeast England

Contact the Elderly: A national charity with groups throughout the UK, including Gateshead. Free monthly tea parties for older people are supported by volunteers within local communities.

Friendships at home: Volunteer-led charity based in Cleethorpes who provide friendships and support to older people across Northeast Lincolnshire, to improve older people’s quality of life.

Northwest England

Reengage: Re-engage is making life less lonely for thousands of older people every year. According to older people, volunteer-led activities make them happier and more able to trust others.

Snow Angels: A local social enterprise supporting older people to live independently and keep well across Cheshire.

West Midlands

The Chatty Café Scheme: Aims to reduce social isolation and loneliness by encouraging and creating opportunities for people to interact through conversation.

Omega: Keeping people connected and living well in later life, particularly those with life-limiting illness, those who are caring, and those who are bereaved. Omega prioritises the most isolated clients over 75, who struggle without supportive people around them.

Shropshire Wildlife Trust – Feed the Birds: Lonely and socially isolated older people will receive regular bird watching visits from volunteers who share a love of nature.

Yorkshire and Humber

The Loneliness Campaign North Yorkshire: To raise awareness of the many activities provided by organisations across the region.

Live Well York: Several volunteers who are happy to arrange regular telephone calls with you to have a friendly chat. If you are struggling then you can let your volunteer know and they will arrange a contact with the Local Area coordinator to help you find a solution.

East Midlands

MHA: Through befriending, lunch clubs, assisted shopping, activity and friendship sessions, outings, assistance to attend appointments and much more, MHA Communities across the UK help to tackle loneliness and isolation in people over 55 – helping them to remain as active members in their local communities.

Derby County Community Trust: One of 32 football league clubs awarded with funding to make a difference to older people in our community. The project supports those who may live alone or be isolated through a lack of technology know-how or equipment. Projects include virtual cook-along sessions for older males who may be bereaved, IT loan schemes and tutorials, monthly care package deliveries, virtual catch ups and gardening sessions.

Southwest England

Help and Kindness: Supporting people and communities in Dorset. They offer food projects, loneliness support and Cost of Living support.

Marmalade Trust: A leading loneliness charity for all ages. They identify the people most at risk from loneliness in society, signpost them to the right support and resources and help them to make new friendships and connections.

Southeast England

Age Concern: A local independent charity for older people in Eastbourne and the surrounding areas. Every penny raised is spent locally to provide a fantastic range of activities and services that make a difference.

Chatty Bus: The Oxford Bus Company has announced the return of Chatty Bus which will help to tackle loneliness and social isolation. The company arranged a free trip on its City Sightseeing Oxford open-topped bus tour of the city for the elderly.

UK Wide Support

The silver line: Offers friendship, conversation, and support to older people aged 55 and over. You can pick up the phone and speak to one of the friendly Silver Line team at any time.

Age UK: One of the leading charities in the UK offering support to people later in life. Their website is filled with useful information, advice and contacts for a variety of needs. You can arrange free weekly friendship calls, where Age UK will match you with one of their volunteers.