Help to make a difference to others…

People are being encouraged to do more to help others in Nottingham as part of a new Looking After Each Other campaign.

A menu of ‘How to Make a Difference’ is being introduced in the city (7 November) to give ideas and suggestions of how people can help. Ideas range from things that people can do every day when they’re out-and-about, along with ways to be a good neighbour and even things that will help to change lives forever, such as fostering. A new website – www.LookingAfterEachOther.co.uk – is also being launched.

Run by Nottingham City Council with Nottingham City NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service (NCVS), the campaign wants people to think more about how to help others – especially those who are lonely, isolated or vulnerable. The message is: ‘Help others, feel good’.

Recent figures show that one in three people in Nottingham feel lonely some or most of the time (Citizen Survey 2015). Over half of all people aged 75 and over live alone; and a third of people aged 65 and over feel out of touch with the pace of modern life and one in 10 say they feel cut off from society and trapped in their own homes.

By encouraging more of us to get involved in Looking after Each Other, the campaign hopes to raise awareness and give practical solutions for people to do more.

Cllr Alex Norris, Portfolio Holder for Adults and Health at Nottingham City Council, said: “We want to help people help each other. We want to show them that it’s possible for all of us to make that contribution.

“We know that people lead busy lives, so we asked them what stops them doing more to help others. Some of the main barriers included not feeling like they had the time and not knowing how to do it. Our menu of ‘How to Make a Difference’ has a list of things that people can do quickly and easily, as well as some of the things that will make a huge difference, such as fostering.”

The ways that people can make a difference include:

  • Things you can do every day, when you’re out and about, to make a difference to people’s lives – such as smiling, saying a kind word or picking up litter
  •  Things you can do on your Smart Phone if you have a spare five minutes, for example if you are on the bus, in your lunch break, in a queue
  •  Good deeds you can do to be more neighbourly – especially for older people who might be on their own and need a little extra help with some of the everyday things in life
  •  Ways that you can make an even bigger impact on the lives of others if you can spare more time, perhaps on a more regular basis
  •  Things you can do that will change a life forever, such as fostering

Cllr Norris added: “We want Nottingham to be known for its kind, helpful people. There are those in the city who are always going out of their way to help others – and we’re celebrating and championing them as part of this campaign.

“But we’d like to get more people involved. If we can get more ‘Life Changers’, then it will be brilliant; but if people are busy and aren’t able to commit to something like that then it would be great to think that they could at least say a kind word or give someone a smile when they’re out and about.”

Dr Hugh Porter, Chair of Nottingham City CCG said: “This campaign is intentionally timed to run during the winter months. People often feel more isolated or vulnerable when it gets dark earlier and the colder weather sets in and it can be harder to get out and about, especially for older people or those with poor mobility. This is the perfect time of the year to look out for each other.  Even simple gestures or practical offers of help can make a real difference to physical health and mental wellbeing – for others and yourself.”

The campaign will run until Christmas and include:

  • Looking After Each Other Week – from 7 November up until World Kindness Day on 13 November. This will include #FeelgoodFriday on 11 November, when people will be urged to do acts of kindness – one of the ‘Ways to Make a Difference’.
  •  Self-Care Week – from 14-20 November, which will look at ways that people can get more advice to look after themselves and look after others
  • Loneliness Awareness Week 21-27 November, which will focus on the impact of feeling lonely, who is affected and how people can help
  •  Festive Feelgood – running in December, this will focus on ways that people can help others in the run-up to Christmas

Dave Robinson, Acting Chief Executive of NCVS, said: “Through our busy volunteer centre, NCVS hears stories every week of the amazing work that Nottingham people do in giving their spare time to help others. Not only does it give us the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference to the people around us, it also makes us feel good about ourselves.

“We understand that not everyone has the time to volunteer but we still spend time helping others through acts of kindness.  Sometimes we just do this without thinking. Whether it’s giving a helping hand to a neighbour, joining in sponsored charity events or donating food to local food banks it all makes a difference for the better to the world we live in.

“Alongside our partners, through the Looking After Each Other campaign, NCVS is keen to spread the word and pass it on to others that together, through acts both large and small, we can make Nottingham an even kinder place if more of us get involved.”

The full list of How to Make a Difference can be found at www.LookingAfterEachOther.co.uk

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