Going the extra mile this winter with Leeds Irish Health and Homes

This December, we’ve caught up with Leeds Irish Health and Homes who offers a variety of support services, to the Irish, and wider Leeds community. Thanks to one of our Winter Wellbeing grants they have been able to provide support to vulnerable people in the cold, winter months. 

Here, Deidre from Leeds Irish Health and Homes tells us more.

What does your Winter Wellbeing project involve?

Thanks to the Winter Wellbeing funding we’re delivering hot, nutritious meals to vulnerable people twice weekly. Our volunteers also drive people down to our Lunch Clubs and do befriending home visits to isolated people. These are people who, due to fear of the bad weather, won’t venture out by themselves. Our volunteers provide friendly company, a hot drink and clear ice from pathways.

Why is this support so important in the winter months?

The Irish community is an ageing community, has the most complex heath conditions of any minority group in the city, and has the highest group of older people living alone. It is vulnerable to the pressures winter brings with further isolation, worsening health conditions and falls.

Could you share a rewarding moment you’ve had so far?

AK is a 70 year old Irish woman who has recently been bereaved of her beloved sister who was also her main carer. Our volunteer driver now brings her to our lunch clubs twice a week. She says: “Being part of the lunch club now has been a great help to me. I have people to talk to and have met new people. I can now get out and have something to look forward to since losing my sister.”

What difference has the funding from Leeds Community Foundation made?

We know from experience that the people we support can find the winter a very challenging time for their physical and mental health. With the Foundation’s funding we have trained our staff and volunteers to be winter friends and to go that extra mile to provide physical and social support.