Date issued: 4 November 2020
Colchester’s strategic partnership, One Colchester launched its 2020-21 Winter Resilience campaign to help those in need stay safe, warm, well and connected this winter.
Thanks to partnership working, funding and community spirit, this project continues to provide advice and support through the One Colchester initiative delivering roadshows in the community and distributing winter packs to those affected by the cold weather, including families on low incomes, people living with respiratory conditions and long-term health conditions
A Winter Resilience Steering Group, chaired by Community360, who co-delivers the project, brings together representatives from the public and voluntary sector to facilitate more action over the coming months.
Tracy Rudling, Chief Executive Officer of Community360 said: “We are very aware that the needs of the community will be quite different this year due to the pandemic. As a partnership, we are doing as much as we possibly can to reach those residents who are vulnerable and at risk. We are aware of the impact the virus has had on the health and morale of our communities, on the young and the old, as well issues around increased isolation, financial concerns and fear of the virus.”
Cllr Michael Lilley, Colchester Borough Council's Portfolio Holder for Communities, Wellbeing and Public Safety, said: “We have faced a very difficult few months and now, with winter approaching, it is crucial this year that residents can keep warm and look after themselves. Our ongoing partnership working and funding continues to support the excellent winter resilience project, offering free support for our residents to stay well and warm this winter.”
Due to the closure of the One Colchester Hub, this year new mobile hubs will be set up instead across the borough to support local communities with the distribution of winter packs, information, and support. Community360 are also offering guided walks to encourage people to get active, support their mental and physical well-being and socialise at a safe distance. They are currently offering 3 walks around Prettygate, Castle Park and Abbey Field, limited to groups of 5 people and 1 volunteer.
A new Walk and Talk 4 Men Group has also been launched, which meets at The Castle Park War Memorial every Tuesday at 11am.
Walk and Talk 4 Men is a support group for men and their mental health. The aim is to have a stroll around a country park whilst having a chat in a safe place without judgement! It gives men the opportunity to offload, get things off our chest and talk about how we are feeling rather than bottling it up and suffering in silence.
Mental fitness is just as is important as our physical fitness. Men in general find it difficult to open up and talk about their feelings. They often see it as a weakness, they feel they always need to be strong. At Walk&Talk4Men they want to encourage men that’s it’s okay to talk and that nobody is alone.
The Winter Packs, a crucial part of the campaign will include a guide to local support services ranging from Colchester Borough Council’s Emergency Heater Scheme to social groups, clothing, basic refreshments and practical items, such as a torch, blanket and masks will be distributed to those identified as being in need by partnership members. In addition, this year the packs will provide help and support to encourage people to stay safe but to try and maintain some form of physical activity and to maintain a healthy mind with activities such as arts and crafts. A dedicated supply of packs will also be held at Colchester Hospital for staff to distribute to patients who would benefit from the packs when they are discharged.
“We are delighted to be working once again with key partners who provide much needed help and support when things get tough during the winter months,” said Tracy Rudling. “Last year over 48 partners collaborated, offering over 7500 interventions which included running social groups, issuing winter packs, hosting activities for families and children and funding local projects and conducting outreach across the borough.”
She added: “A special thank you must go to our wonderful team of volunteers. Their help is invaluable, and I would encourage anyone who is interested in volunteering to contact us to find out more information, your help will be very much needed over the coming months.”
The Winter Resilience project has been funded by North East Essex Alliance and supported by donations in kind so far from Waitrose. More sponsors are expected to be announced shortly.