Greater Manchester Combined Authority: Keeping Well this Winter

In December 2020, Greater Manchester's Ageing Hub and partners launched a campaign to support older people who are not online with practical information to keep well in winter.

The project

A coalition of public service organisations, charities and older people’s groups, produced a new information campaign to support those working with older people.

The ‘Keeping Well This Winter’ booklet contains tips and advice on keeping physically well and maintaining good mental health. It has been distributed to tens of thousands of older people across Greater Manchester.

The information campaign includes a film of older people who suggest key questions that will open a positive conversation between front line staff or volunteers when talking on the doorstep or making phone calls.

An evaluation led by the University of Manchester with people who received the booklet showed that 92 per cent of people found the information helpful and 90 per cent said it had helped them to stay healthy. Half had no access to the internet and even among those who did, 83 per cent still preferred to receive paper-based information.

The booklet has also been adapted and republished in nine UK local areas and abroad as far as Australia and Canada.

The Greater Manchester Ageing Hub are currently looking to refresh the content of the Keeping Well This Winter printed booklet in response to the cost of living crisis.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority recently consulted with the Older People’s Equality Panel to find out what essential information older people would like to see in an updated cost of living booklet. The following insights were found:

  • specific costing information that is relevant to older people's living situations as estimated costs in media are typically based on a working-age family of four.
  • fear is a big issue in older households, reassurance and more detailed costings are needed so people can make informed decisions around their finances (reports of older people not putting lights or the television, and not taking showers or using the heating due to fear over costing).
  • promotion of utility companies’ priority customer register is needed, alongside confirming that companies cannot cut off pensioners during winter.
  • creating example budgets for people on state pension and pension credit would be helpful.
  • making the standing charge element of bills clear (so people know that even if they don't use heating, they will still be charged).