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Overcoming the challenges of winter

Winter can be a challenging time for many, with the shorter days and poor weather especially impacting on those who are older, less mobile and more isolated.

But did you know that the East Riding of Yorkshire Council has a range of information and support available to help the more vulnerable residents stay safe, warm, healthy and socially engaged throughout the winter months?

‘Make Time for Winter’ is an information booklet produced by the council containing useful information, tips and advice on how people can stay healthy and safe this winter.

For example, residents are advised to make a winter plan in advance of any bad weather, make contact with their close neighbours and perhaps exchanging telephone numbers with them in case they need help in an emergency. Neighbours may also be able to help with your shopping, if you are worried about getting out and about when it is icy, or just if you need a friendly voice when it is cold and miserable outside.

Councillor Richard Harrap, council portfolio holder for adult and carer services, said: “This is the time of year when being neighbourly can make all the difference to someone who otherwise may be struggling with the challenges that winter can bring.

“Keep an eye on your friends, family and neighbours and help them out where possible. The council is a great source of information and support at this time of year so you should not hesitate to get in touch to find out more.”

‘Make Time for Winter’ also contains information about maintenance checks on your home, what to do with your utilities in an emergency, and how to get out and about in wintry weather. Copies of the booklet have been distributed to a range of venues, including GP surgeries, pharmacies, town and parish councils, and the East Riding Carers Support Service.

It can also be accessed and viewed online at http://www2.eastriding.gov.uk/environment/roads-streets-traffic-and-parking/winter-services/winter-weather/

There are also a wide range of groups and activities happening in the East Riding all year round, whatever the weather, to help combat the social isolation that some may feel at this time of year. The council offers a range of sports and activity sessions, including the Let’s Get Moving Programme, a mobile sports programme funded by adult services which hundreds of people have so far benefitted from.

It aims to promote independence, increase activity levels and reduce isolation among the over 50s, and adults with a disability, by offering fun and informal activity sessions, such as gentle seated exercise, soft bowls, New Age Kurling and walking netball.

Of the 1,098 people who took part in the programme last year, 87% said their physical activity, levels had increased, while 88% reported feeling less isolated and had made new friends.

Activity sessions are taking place in village halls, community centres and leisure centres near you throughout the year, including:

  • Seated aerobics, Thursdays, 1.45-2.45pm at The Wesley Centre, Market Weighton.
  • Light exercises including soft bowls and ping-pong, Thursdays 9.30-10.30am and 10.45-11.45am, at The Courtyard, Goole.
  • New Age Kurling and soft bowls session, Wednesdays 9.30-11am, at Hook Village Hall.

For further information contact sport and active communities officer Sarah Johnson on 01482 392526 or email: sarah.johnson@eastriding.gov.uk

The Walking for Health scheme also offers a series of free guided walks for all ages and abilities, aimed at anyone who has an interest in walking or wants to slowly introduce exercise into their daily routines while recovering from illness, injury or to get fit.

The walks are part of the National Walking for Health programme, which is governed by Macmillan Cancer Care and the Ramblers Association.

Over the past 12 months health walks have been provided by the team in 20 different areas across the East Riding, averaging 60 walks a month, ranging from 30 minutes to two hours in duration.

The scheme is recruiting volunteer walk leaders and is keen to hear from anyone interested in setting up a walk in their local area. For more details or to get involved contact Laura Hutchinson on 01482 392527 or email laura.hutchinson@eastriding.gov.uk

There are also a wide range of courses available at adult learning venues across the East Riding throughout the year. These courses, which include subjects such as maths, English, IT, arts and crafts, photography, pottery and flower arranging, range in length from one-day workshops to year-long qualifications and are available during the day, on evenings and weekends. For further information visit the website www.eastriding.gov.uk/learn

East Riding Leisure also has a wide range of facilities, alongside a varied programme of classes, at centres across the area to suit all ages and fitness levels. This includes ‘Sport and Recreation’ sessions which are aimed at beginners of the over 50s, during which customers can take advantage of several dry-side activities including badminton, squash, short tennis and table tennis for the morning (9am-12noon). Swimming is also a great way to get fit and socialise. Over 60s can swim at a discounted rate at certain times during the week (Monday-Friday) at all sites with pools. To find out more about how you could benefit from using East Riding Leisure visit www.eastridingleisure.co.uk

And did you know that East Riding Libraries have a huge range of reading and audio materials available to loan and download including eBooks, eMagazine, eAudiobooks, and eComics. Libraries also provide a meeting space for social groups including book groups, memory lane, knit and natter.

Free support is also available to people living with dementia and those who care for them, for example the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme.

This is part of a national scheme which provides book-based support for a variety of health conditions at public libraries. For further information about the resources available at East Riding Libraries is available online at www.library.eastriding.gov.uk

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