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Surviving Winter: Leeds scheme helps elderly to fight the freeze

Manager of Stanningley and Swinnow Live at Home Scheme Lesley Pearson, centre, shows Stanningley Court residents Edna Kershaw and Elsie Robertshaw, right, thermal clothing.

Manager of Stanningley and Swinnow Live at Home Scheme Lesley Pearson, centre, shows Stanningley Court residents Edna Kershaw and Elsie Robertshaw, right, thermal clothing.

More than 120 pensioners in Stanningley and Swinnow have a head start when it comes to wrapping up against the cold, thanks to last year’s Surviving Winter campaign.

Leeds Community Foundation awarded Stanningley and Swinnow Live at Home Scheme just over £1,500 to spend on an array of thermal clothing and winter wonders for its elderly members.

Lesley Pearson, manager of the scheme, said she had consulted with service users on the idea before snapping up everything from thermal vests to long johns, dressing gowns, pyjamas, bed socks, hats, gloves and the latest 21st century winter warmer – fleecy blankets with built-in-sleeves.

She said: “Once they’ve got these things on they don’t have to have the heating on as high.

“When they go out, if they’ve got their thermals and hat and gloves on there’s less chance of them getting ill.

“Feeling warm makes them feel better and they’re less likely to get things like SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and depression and if it saves on heating bills a bit then it gives them a bit more to spend on food.”

Great-grandmother-of-five Elsie Robertshaw said she hated the cold so thought it was a great scheme.

The 88-year-old former school cook said: “I use the Live at Home transport to get me to clubs and the woollies to keep me warm.

“I think it’s a great service and my family think the same.”

She added: “I like to keep myself warm. I don’t let the bills worry me.”

Former textiles worker Edna Kershaw, 89, was given a vest, gloves, socks, scarf and long johns.

She said: “They really keep you warm, they’ve been a great help.”

“I wear them whenever they take me out – I think it was a great idea.”

Joan Rayner collected vests, socks and thermal gloves last winter and has recently been given the “snuggle blanket” she really wanted.

The 90-year-old great-grandmother-of-eight, who suffers with osteoarthritis, said: “I really feel the cold.

“The gloves are good for my fingers.”

They are all hoping the scheme will win a Surviving Winter grant again this year.

 

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