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Wednesday 7th October 2015

Cold hands, warm heart?

It’s that time of year again. Days are starting to get colder and shorter and soon the clocks will change (remember: spring forward, fall back!). So there are the usual seasonal reminders about keeping warm, and I think that goes beyond maintaining a body temperature.

In autumn and winter, the warmth of friendship and company is as important as the warmth of a person’s home. We know this at MHA – it’s why befriending has been such a key part of our Live at Home community schemes for over 25 years. If you regularly spend all day without seeing another soul, hearing another voice or having any kind of conversation, it doesn’t matter how toasty your house is. You’ll be chilled through and it will affect your health.

Earlier this year, Trudie Fraser told BBC Radio Northampton that until she joined the city’s Live at Home scheme, she would regularly go all day without seeing even a car passing (she lives in a cul de sac). I hear similar stories all the time from Live at Home members. “A source of friendship”, “a lifeline”, “I just couldn’t do without it”. If snow and ice do mean people can’t necessarily get out to their lunch clubs and activities, then befrienders can still visit or phone them, or make sure to bring groceries and medicines round. I think knowing that we’re there and willing to help is as important as having the goods delivered.

Please look out for yourself and your older neighbours this winter. There’s plenty of information available about staying warm in the colder months and if you or someone you know could also benefit from some warm friendship, and practical and social support, get in touch and see how Live at Home can help.

Alison Slater

Services Manager – Community Services

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