Kindness snowballs

We’ve seen lots of people wrapped up in extra layers this week as the temperature’s dropped in Sheffield. Some of our hillier parts have already seen a fair bit of snow, and forecasts are saying that it’s set to spread across the city over the next few days.

As exciting and beautiful as it can be, snow can also bring practical and emotional challenges that heighten loneliness for lots of the older people living across our city.

There’s lots of ways we can pull together to look after one another in the snow, though! Here’s how you can help:

  1. Check if people have enough of their essentials and offer to pick some up for them if they can’t make it out the house.
  2. Ask if you can help take someone to an appointment or pick up their prescription for them.
  3. Offer to car share with those who might otherwise struggle to get into work or to do their shopping (as long as it’s safe to drive of course!).
  4. Check that people have the right things in place to stay warm. Extra heaters, blankets and layers all make a big difference. And if you suspect that an older person might not be living in the warmest conditions then check out this brill service from Age UK Sheffield which helps to support people to keep warm in winter.
  5. Cook an extra portion of food to share and invite people round for company – you can find tasty and cheap recipes that cater for all dietary requirements over at Jack Monroe’s website.
  6. Clear pathways and drives for others to help avoid any accidents.
  7. Share a kind word of reassurance. Knowing that someone is there for you “just in case” can make a huge difference. It might also be nice to share your contact details if you feel comfortable doing so, then your neighbours knows they have someone to turn to it they need a hand, or if you find that you need theirs.
  8. Put an extra bin out for those who might not be able to manage theirs.
  9. Give a wave or smile to someone who might be watching snowy enjoyment through their window.

And last but not least.

  1. Embrace the unexpected – and we don’t mean catching someone off guard with a snowball! We mean taking the time to create those special moments that help people feel connected and seen. Moments like kindly taking the art your child made at nursery to the person next door, or popping in with an old CD that would brighten someone’s day. It could even be offering an arm to walk someone home from the bus stop, because for many people snow doesn’t mean long walks with the dog, sledging with friends, or getting toasty round the fire in the pub. And not being able to do those things, or not having anyone to do them with can feel tough. If we can help in little ways, let’s do it together.

Most importantly, if you can offer to support people in your local communities and neighbourhoods please keep yourselves safe too. And do let us know if you’ve done something that’s made a difference for someone else – we’re all for spreading acts of kindness that are so needed right now, especially in this weather!