Affinity Daycare C.I.C. launch ‘Winter Warmth’ campaign to protect Northampton’s older adults this winter
Duston-based Affinity Daycare C.I.C. launched a campaign to fight the cost-of-living crisis. Every older adult who attends the centre will receive a pack containing a single duvet sized fleece blanket, a microwaveable soup pot with lid and a hot water bottle. These essentials are theirs to keep and have been chosen to help keep them warm when they are at home. Clients at the centre (referred to as ‘friends’) are being encouraged to bring their soup pot and hot water bottle in with them to be filled so that they don’t have to boil their kettle and have something warm and nourishing for supper.
The idea for the campaign came when staff at the centre learned that people aged between 55 and 74 years were more likely to be cutting their energy use than those in the majority of other age groups. Around 6 in 10 of those aged 55 to 64 years (58%) and 65 to 74 years (59%) reported doing so.
Affinity friends started raising concerns about the cost of turning their ovens and heating on, so the team knew they had to act fast. Fern Overton, Director, Affinity Day Care C.I.C. said:
“It’s hard to ignore the rise in prices of gas and electricity so we got our heads together for solutions on how we can help keep everyone warm this winter. We don’t want anyone in our Affinity family to be cold and we certainly don’t want them to have to choose between loneliness and warmth.”
Older adults often have underlying health conditions and disabilities that make them vulnerable if they are cold or malnourished. Low temperatures can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, exacerbate lung conditions and worsen arthritis. Living in a cold home can also undermine an older adult’s mental health, contributing to anxiety, depression and loneliness.
Friends who attend the centre have a hot, two-course lunch and spend the day in a well-lit, warm community centre taking part in activities and interacting with friends. They also have minibus transport included in the daily price so they don’t have to worry about the increasing cost of fuel.
Fern Overton explained
“We thought about providing everyone with an electric heater to take home but that doesn’t help with the financial impact of the energy increase. A fleece blanket and hot water bottle help to keep friends warm without an additional cost to them, and soup that can be heated quickly in a microwave is more cost effective than cooking a meal using the oven and hob.”
Around 24 million people in Great Britain were reducing energy use in their home between March and June 2022, and around 16 million cut back on food and essentials.
Fern went on to say
“Older adults, who are often on a fixed low income, are already spending the bare minimum so cutting back isn’t an option. It’s taken for granted that older adults own their homes and don’t have housing costs but that isn’t the case for everyone. They also can’t change their income, they can’t get a second or third job for example.”
“Most of our friends are in their 80s and 90s and all are worried about their bills. All friends receive our winter warmth packs and even those coming for taster days will receive one. We’re worried about everyone and so we have extended the packs to spouses of our friends as there are lots of vulnerable couples.”
The campaign will run for as long as it’s cold and is being supported by The Grow Together Allotment, a community project bringing older and younger people together to share and learn allotment and growing skills. The produce grown with the help of Affinity friends will be used in the daily soup.
Kay Drinkwater, Affinity Daycare’s oldest friend said of the campaign:
“I’m 101 so I know I have to look after myself and keeping warm in winter is a big part of that. The packs that Fern and the team have put together are brilliant and will really help us in our homes. I’m so grateful to have this support network looking out for me.”
To find out how to support the campaign more or to book a free telephone assessment, call 01604 372744, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.affinitydaycare.co.uk