Ageing Equality

Greater Manchester and Independent Age launch new guide to support older residents in winter

A NEW guide has been created for older residents in Greater Manchester, containing advice and key information to help them get the support they need this winter.

The Greater Manchester Ageing Hub has partnered with national older person’s charity Independent Age to launch Winterwise, a new guide to keeping well during the winter period.

The coming months are expected to be difficult for many older residents across the city-region, as the costs of energy, food and other bills continue to rise. 

The guide includes useful information on cost of living support, and focuses on three key themes:

  • ‘Stay warm’ – Providing information about the financial support that older people could access to help them with rising energy costs
  • ‘Stay safe’ – Focusing on home safety advice for older people, including fire safety, how to spot and report scams, and what to do if they fall
  • ‘Stay well’ – Tips and advice on mental health and wellbeing, eating well and keeping active

Designed with older people in mind, the Winterwise guide is also being offered to disabled people and can benefit any resident looking to get winter ready. The guide is available in print and online to better support older residents, as the Ageing Hub identified a strong preference from older people to receive official information in a printed format.

More than 325,000 printed copies are being distributed across Greater Manchester by key partners including the 10 local councils, North West Ambulance Service (Patient Transport Service), Greater Manchester Police, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Greater Manchester Housing Providers, 200 pharmacies, Transport for Greater Manchester, and local organisations and networks.

The guide also builds on the Pension Top Up campaign, relaunched earlier this year, which encourages older residents to check they are getting all of the financial support to which they are entitled.

In Greater Manchester, £70 million goes unclaimed each year in Pension Credit alone, while many older residents are also missing out on Attendance Allowance, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and other entitlements – all of which could make a big difference to their weekly income and provide extra support for the rising living and energy costs.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “This winter, the rising cost of living will put even greater pressure on those who might already be facing difficulties or need extra support to get by. In the face of these challenges, it’s vital that we do everything we can to help everyone through the winter months.

“The Winterwise guide, which we’ve developed together with Independent Age, is an important part of that effort. It contains information and advice for older residents in Greater Manchester, setting out some of the steps they can take to stay warm, well and safe this winter.”

Cllr Amanda Chadderton, GMCA Lead for Equalities, Inclusion and Cohesion, added:  “We know just how crucial it is to have information and guidance available to everyone who needs it. When it comes to the cost of living crisis and supporting older residents through the winter, that is more important than ever.

“We’ve listened to what people want to see, and the printed Winterwise guide is designed to better support our older residents, especially those who are digitally excluded.  

“If you are supporting older people or have older family members then please share the guide, have those conversations, and let’s make sure we all stay Winterwise this year and that everybody has the support they need.”

Fran McSweeney, Head of National Services at Independent Age, said:  “Every day we hear from older people who are anxious about how to make ends meet this winter. The cost of living crisis means that many people over 65 are being pushed beyond the limits of their budget. The need for help and information is absolutely urgent.

“The Winterwise guide is vital to help older people claim what they’re entitled to and manage costs. We’re delighted to be partnering with the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub to get the Winterwise guides in the hands of everyone who needs them in Greater Manchester. Please look out for the guides in your local hubs, or get in touch if you would like to receive a copy.”

Jan Kitching, Interim Chair of the Greater Manchester Older People’s Equality Panel, said: “By bringing together all the essential information in one printed guide, we’re giving older residents in Greater Manchester the tools to be Winterwise. Older people are resilient and resourceful and if we do need some extra support this guide shows us how to access it.”

To get a physical copy for yourself, your loved ones or older people you are supporting, please look out for local distributions such as at libraries, pharmacies, warm hubs and more, or call Independent Age on 0800 319 6789. You could also call your local council’s dedicated cost of living phone line for more advice and support.

For the online version please visit the GMCA website.

With the support from Talking With My Generation, the first older person-led newsroom in the UK, a video has been produced with older residents in Greater Manchester to promote the guide. Please find the video in this YouTube link

Article Published: 22/11/2022 11:45 AM