This week, Winter Friends attended the Beeston Community Health and Wellbeing Fair at St Andrew’s Church.
Winter Friends engaged with the community, gave out resources and were inspired by the neighbourly stories told by the Beeston community members.
Here are a few inspirational testimonies…
Ann talked about the importance of visiting her neighbour to avoid loneliness. She said: “My neighbour is 100 years old. He’s very lonely and isolated and reluctant to let people in so I visit him every now and again to say hi.”
June & Pauline
June and Pauline talked about what a difference it makes to them when neighbours check in. June said: “They ring me sometimes and I ring them, sometimes we talk over the hedge or in the street. She comes round to see if I’m okay, she always asks me if I need anything from the shops.”
“Being neighbourly is important and making sure people are okay. If I haven’t seen her for a while, I usually ring her to see if she’s okay and she does the same with me. I’m pleased that she’s interested to know that I’m alright.”
Brenda & Irene & Lucy
Brenda and Irene talked about the importance of doing the small things to make your community happier.
Brenda said: “We’re just there to help one another really, we look out for our neighbours. If there’s anything going on like a special offer in Sainsbury’s, things like that. If your neighbours need any help, your neighbours help you. My friend’s husband died 6 months ago and a guy came from the bottom of the street to check on her and said don’t be alone and if you need anything just knock on my door. My next door neighbour checks in on me to make sure I’m alright. They make me feel like they are there when I need them, I know I can go knock on their door. Two doors down there’s a couple where if I go outside to do anything and they see me, they’ll do it for me. My other neighbour’s partner had to get cancer treatment and I took her in my car because it’s only down the road. We are a family and if we can help then we do.”
Brenda and Irene got together and sewed scrubs for St James Hospital before Christmas.
“We sewed 150 scrubs during Christmas for the hospital. We had to cut the first few ones ourselves but then they came ready cut and we would sew them using our sewing machines. We did different designs for Christmas and animal prints on them and then we took them back to be distributed. I was grateful because it kept me occupied. We’ve made blankets as well with our own stamp: jazz hands with B&I for Brenda and Irene.”
Lucy said: “My neighbours help me with my shopping. They go to Morrison’s on a Wednesday and if there’s anything I want, especially anything really heavy, they get it for me.
She added: “She also comes and sits with me on a Monday and we have a nice chat. It makes me feel great because my husband only passed away two years ago. My three daughters don’t live near me so it’s nice to have someone there mentally.”
Paul has been going round to his neighbours house on Christmas day for Christmas dinner for the past three years.
He said: “It’s become a new tradition, a regular thing each year.”
He also talked about the helpful things he does for his neighbours and describes the nice things his neighbours do for him…
“My neighbour had a problem with rodents so I’ve had to put rat poison in the loft for them and my neighbour also does lots of nice things for me, she does my garden for me. She cuts all the edges and puts nice flowers in. I’m always at work so that’s when I notice, I come home and see it all done.”
Kelly and her family look out for their community by hosting themed dinner parties for their neighbours..
“Our neighbour is isolated because she’s the sole carer for her husband. We host these nights where we go over, play games, general chit chat and have food according to the theme.”
Steve & Halyna
Steve and Halyna demonstrate how easy it is to be a Winter Friend in the community by participating in small acts of kindness and also having it returned…
“I’ll shift the snow for my neighbour because she still has to work and works long hours and I take her bins out for her and she does the same.”
Their neighbours have also been there for them during unprecedented times.
“During the lockdown, she came and knocked on my door and asked if I wanted any shopping.”
“Our other neighbours are also great, he’s had a few health problems recently and can’t drive so I let him know I was there for him if he needed anything.”