NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group

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Community Friends

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Did you, or do you know someone who’s gone over and above to support neighbours, family and friends last winter?

We are looking for Sheffield’s best ‘community friends’!

How can you become a community friend?

Every year, hundreds of thousands of older people spend much of the winter alone and lonely.  Older people, especially those who are more vulnerable, can become isolated in the winter months, and the cold weather can have a serious impact on their health.

You can help in many ways, such as:

  • checking in on older neighbours to check they are warm and well,
  • collecting prescriptions or taking older neighbours to the GP for any appointments,
  • helping with food shopping,
  • and clearing snow from doors or paths or gritting side roads and paths if necessary.

Dr Zak McMurray, local GP and CCG Medical Director said, “This was a particularly important scheme for winter as it encouraged people to support their friends, family or neighbours and offer them help wherever they may need it. Looking in on an elderly neighbour can make a huge difference, helping to prevent loneliness and making sure they are safe and warm."

What does it mean to be a Community Friend?

As well as the great feeling that you will get from making a difference and helping someone in your community, all of the nominated ‘community friends’ will receive a certificate, as a thank you from their nominee and the NHS for the input that they’ve had in helping someone maintain their independence, mental and physical health this winter.

How to nominate your Community Friend

If you would like to nominate a Community Friend, please click here to submit an online form

You can also download a nomination form here and post it to:
Communications,
NHS Sheffield CCG,
722 Prince of Wales Road, 
Darnall, 
Sheffield, 
S9 4EU

You can also call 0114 305 1212 for more information.

Background

NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) ‘community friends' scheme is an extension of the national ‘winter friends’ scheme, supported by NHS Choices and encourages people to support others in their community whatever the elements may throw at us.

Sheffield CCG wants to build on the winter campaign, and will run the Community Friends campaign all year round, recognising that battling loneliness and bringing the community closer together through a sense of neighbourliness can be needed year-round, not just in winter.

Last winter, about 31,000 people in England died as a result of the cold weather. The majority of victims were over 75 and many of these deaths could have been avoided.

There are almost 42,000 elderly people (aged 75+) in Sheffield, many of whom spent winter alone and lonely, with only the television as their main form of company.

Making a difference

With the help of the community, the CCG aims to:

  • Reduce unnecessary deaths
  • Battle loneliness
  • Recognise the contributions made by the local community
  • Bring back the old fashioned sense of neighbourliness
  • Help make winter a better time for somebody else.

Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are also harmful to our physical health.  Studies indicate that lack of social connections is as likely to cause early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Interested in Volunteering in Sheffield?

If you are interested in doing more to help people in your community, but are worried about seeming interfering, you could contact your nearest Volunteer Centre who will be able to tell you about volunteering opportunities in your local area. Click the following link to find your closest Volunteering Centre: http://www.volunteering.org.uk/

Age Better in Sheffield

Age Better in Sheffield is a £5million Big Lottery funded programme to help reduce social isolation for people over the age of 50 living in Sheffield.   

The programme is made up of a number of different projects, such as one to one counselling, support to access public transport and skills swapping, to name just a few.

We really want to reach the most social isolated people in our community and we can’t do this without you!  If you would like more information please take a look at our website www.agebettersheff.co.uk or get in touch with Brooke Leigh – b.leigh@syha.co.uk or call 0114 2702536.

NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group

Headquarters
722 Prince of Wales Road
Sheffield
S9 4EU