Winter Challenges and Community Support: Staying Well Together

As the dark nights creep in and the wind picks up it’s a sure sign that we are spiraling towards winter. For many people the coming months are far from cozy. Autumn and winter, up to and through Christmas and into New Year can be times of anxiety and depression. Thankfully there are many services across the district that can help people get through.

Every year the voluntary sector works with the NHS and other local partners to offer help and advice to people, supporting them – you, me, all of us – to stay well through the darker, colder months. It’s easy to think that winter wellness is only a consideration for older people but we should all take care.

COVID is still with us. It may be out of the news, but it is still a threat and we can all take steps to minimise risk, especially to those who are more vulnerable. Those mitigations can also help prevent the spread of other winter illnesses such as colds and flu – good hygiene, covering your mouth if you cough or sneeze, good common sense things that we can all do that help ourselves and others with minimal effort.

But it isn’t all about viruses. Our wellbeing can be impacted by all manner of things that can seem much worse going into autumn and winter. The cost of heating our homes is still high, food inflation is still high, shortages of various foods in our shops is still an issue here and there, loneliness and isolation can feel crushing at this time of year. If you are affected by these things, or are worried about them at all, don’t panic.

Lancaster City Council can signpost and refer people to various support agencies and projects. Lancaster District CVS manages a database of local services and projects, many of whom will support people with these exact problems, and GP surgeries have direct access to this too. Lots of local charitable groups can either help or refer you for help. There are local food banks and food clubs, projects offering befriending support, projects offering activities that you can join in with to get out and about, stay active, and make friends. Some even offer lunch! And there might even be a chance to get rants to help with things like heating.

So as we head into the end of the year, remember that help is there and it’s something that we all need from time to time.