Hounslow Council and its partners are working together to prevent anyone from feeling lonely or isolated during the festive period.
Published: Tuesday, 20th December 2022
How we can prevent loneliness and isolation in Hounslow this Christmas
We can all work together to connect with others and prevent anyone from feeling lonely this Christmas.
This is the big festive message from Hounslow Council and its health and care partners across the borough ahead of the Christmas holidays.
Traditionally a time of celebration and family get-togethers, Christmas can be challenging for people who live alone or who cannot see their friends and family.
Mental Health charity MIND says that feelings of loneliness can also have a negative impact on your mental health and could increase the risk of depression, stress and anxiety, low self-esteem and sleep problems.
A recent YouGov poll found that a third of adults asked are expecting to spend less time socialising this Christmas due to concerns about rising prices and the cost of living crisis.
However, there are steps everyone can take to support their neighbours and look out for those who feel lonely this festive season.
Local data tells us that 26.7 per cent of adults in Hounslow have reported feeling lonely often, always, or some of the time since 2020. Younger people and people aged over 65 are most likely to be affected by loneliness.
Other factors can cause Hounslow residents to feel lonely or socially isolated, such as living arrangements, marital status, ability to travel, care responsibilities or needing support with digital skills.
“The past couple of Christmases have been difficult for everyone because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, we are faced with the challenges of the cost of living crisis. However, as a community, we can all continue to support each other.
"Whether Christmas is a part of your life or not, everyone can help combat loneliness this winter. It could be something as simple as waving to a neighbour, saying hello or stopping to chat with them.
“There are services available in our borough to support residents who are experiencing feelings of loneliness and isolation this year. If residents could share this information with their neighbours it would help to get the message out that you’re not alone.”
Anne Stratton, Director of Hounslow’s integrated care programme, the Borough Based Partnership (BBP) said:
"Our local health and care system is a fantastic example of NHS, community, voluntary and local authority partners working together to build strong compassionate communities, supporting people to feel happy and healthy and to achieve a sense of identity and belonging, especially at such a challenging time of the year for many. Bringing organisations together across Hounslow and tackling loneliness and social isolation is an important part of this work."
Here are some of the services that are available to everyone in Hounslow this Christmas and into the New Year:
Hounslow Council and its partners have opened a network of warm spaces across the borough to support people who are struggling to heat their homes. You will find a warm welcome here, with many providing hot drinks and other refreshments. Some provide activities for children and adults.
Some of the warm spaces are open over the Christmas period.
Find your nearest here.
Hounslow has 11 libraries which all participate in the warm spaces initiative. They offer free
computers, wifi, digital skills training and online resources. Many have areas to relax and some often host activities and events.
The borough’s libraries are great places to go to get out of the house and be around other people.
Find out more here.
There are several ways you can get out and about in Hounslow.
- Taxicard scheme - residents in Hounslow can apply for a Taxicard where they only pay a small cost of a journey, and the remainder of the journey is free up to a maximum of £10.80 to £13.30. Find out more here
- Community transport - Hounslow Community Transport offers a minibus hire service and shopmobility hire. Find out more here.
- Travel Buddy Service - residents in Hounslow who have a disability can receive travel training and support to assist them in using public transport. This service is provided by adults with disabilities who are employed as full-time travel buddies. This service not only gives adults with disabilities in Hounslow choice and control in accessing mainstream forms of transport but also provides employment opportunities. Find out more here.
CarePlace - Hounslow Council offers a free online information and advice directory which can help someone find the right support for themselves older people, carers, or someone with a long-term health condition. It includes a new service, called Autonomy, where residents can start a needs assessment to ensure they are guided to the right care and services.
Find out more here.
An organisation called Hestia provides integrated support services in Hounslow. This service offers three types of person-centred support:
Practical support, including carers support (16+ yrs)
Short breaks for carers (18+ years). Find out more here.
Middlesex Association for the Blind offers a telephone befriending service to clients who are blind or visually impaired, to help people tackle feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Many community-based services provide opportunities for Hounslow residents to address social isolation and loneliness. Community Solutions is contactable via telephone or email. The service provides information, advice and guidance to residents in person at a wide range of locations across the borough in the community, which can be found on Hounslow's website.
Community solutions help residents who are socially isolated or experiencing loneliness in a wide range of ways, including finding local support and activities, befriending, information on keeping healthy, skills and employment, mental health support and many more complex issues.
- Age UK Hounslow provides a befriending service to residents of the London Borough of Hounslow. This service offers a volunteer 'befriender', who can talk to the resident and understand their issues and interest. This service is offered to residents who are aged 60 and over. Find out more here.
- NHS Talking Therapy services across boroughs in North West London have come together to launch a new campaign to remind residents that mental health services are open for anyone finding things emotionally difficult this Winter. Find out more here.
- Mental Health Integrated Teams - Community-based teams made up of different professionals with a wide range of skills. They focus on supporting people’s mental health, alongside their physical health and social care needs. Find out more here.
- Local Mental Health Crisis Line - Call this number for help or advice in a crisis from our trained mental health advisers and clinicians, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year: 0800 328 4444. Find out more here.
- The Hounslow Safe Space Crisis Helpline, run by MIND - operates between 11am and 11pm every day of the year. Call: 020 3475 5185
- Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing and Hounslow Mind is a Local Mind Association that aims to help young people, aged 16-25, who are feeling isolated and lonely, make new connections in a fun and interactive way. Find out more here.
- Café Together is part of The Shelter Project Hounslow and provides hot free meals, company and assistance to those who need help every Thursday evening. This service aims to provide support to those experiencing loneliness, financial worries, or rough sleepers. Find out more here.
- Digital inclusion Project by Our Barn Community (funded through Community Solutions) recycling unused technology such as laptops, which are fixed and upgraded and distributed to local people in need. Call in 10am – 3.30pm at Pump and Grind Coffee Shop Thursdays to Sundays inside London Museum of Water and Steam, Green Dragon Lane, Brentford TW8 OEN or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
- Samaritans - offering confidential support 24 hours a day. Call: 116 123.
- MIND infoline - Support with everything mental health-related from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday. Call: 0300 123 3393 or text: 8646.
- Saneline - a national mental health helpline for support with mental health problems. Open between 4.30pm and 10.30pm. Call: 0300 304 7000.
- Shout - a free 24-hour text service for anyone in crisis. Text: 85258 for help.