Gateway Digest

I have some items that I no longer need – who can I give it away to?Posted Wednesday 18th April 2018

There are various charity shops throughout the borough of St Helens who are normally happy to accept goods (clothes, toys, books, furniture etc) that are in resellable condition. You can find a list of charity shops in your area by typing your post code into the Charity Retail Association website.

You could also consider donating your unwanted items to family, friends or through the FreeCycle network – FreeCycle is a network of local groups who advertise unwanted items to others in their locality with the overall aim of reducing usable items out of landfills.

Where can I find opportunities to volunteer in St Helens?Posted Wednesday 18th April 2018

The Volunteer Centre can assist people in finding volunteering opportunities available in the borough. Volunteering can bring many benefits including:
gain work experience

  • make new friends
  • receive training/qualifications
  • develop new skills
  • improve confidence and self-esteem

There are hundreds of different volunteering opportunities available in St Helens, with examples including:

  • supporting a young person
  • raise funds for a group
  • help a child with their homework
  • improve the local environment
  • interpret local heritage
  • befriending
  • supporting vulnerable adults

In addition to speaking to the Volunteer Centre face-to-face or over the phone, volunteer opportunities are also displayed via the national Do-It website.

What does ‘give’ mean and how can it help improve my wellbeing?Posted Wednesday 18th April 2018

Giving back to other people is one of the ‘five ways to wellbeing’ *

Giving means doing something nice for someone else – helping others can give you a sense of satisfaction and helps to enhance your relationships with others; they may even return the favour at a later date! Examples of giving may include:

  • Volunteering for a charity or at an event
  • Doing a chore for a friend, family member or neighbour
  • Joining a community group to help others
  • Treating someone to a drink, a treat or a gift
  • Passing on your knowledge and skills to someone else
  • Donating unwanted products to others

St Helens Volunteer Centre assists people in finding local volunteering opportunities. There are loads of benefits of volunteering and hundreds of different flexible opportunities available in St Helens.

The Rotary Club of St Helens is a local group of people who volunteer their time and meet up on a regular basis to help organise events and projects that help the local community.

The Friends of Griffin Wood, established in 2007, is a community group of volunteers who work to celebrate and care for Griffin Wood, to the south of St Helens. The group have previously held tree/bulb planting events, helped build a bird hide and sown wildflower seeds.

* source: Foresight Project Mental Capacity and Wellbeing (2008)

Where can I find out about events happening in St Helens?Posted Wednesday 18th April 2018

Visit St Helens is the official tourist information website for all events, attractions, sports, entertainment and hotels in St Helens. Their website has a searchable database of all forthcoming events for you to connect with the local community.

BePOSH is a website that celebrates the remarkable facts, people and other reasons to be proud of St Helens.

KidsGuide is an online directory of activities, fun days out, events, clubs, classes and support for families and kids in the North West.

How can I connect and participate within my local community?Posted Wednesday 18th April 2018

The Wellbeing Project provides a range of activities for anyone who would like to learn new skills, meet new friends and find out about how to improve their general wellbeing. Past activities have included poetry and creative writing, drama, arts/crafts, film groups, learning a new instrument and movies to name just a few, and all activities are delivered in a safe and friendly environment where you can have fun and make new friends.

St Helens CEN is an independent community network that champions community participation and involvement in local decision making. They support the development of new community groups, community projects and the development of active citizenship among neighbourhoods and communities across the St Helens borough.

The Rotary Club of St Helens is a local group of people who volunteer their time and meet up on a regular basis to help organise events and projects that help the local community.

St Helens Chat and St Helens Now are online communities for people to come together and talk about local history, sport and St Helens in general.

Specific areas
The Avenues TRA is a tenants and residents association operating in the Derbyshire Hill area of Parr. The association runs the Moss Lodge Community Project which has seen the transformation of a former haulage yard into a thriving community garden.

What does ‘connect’ mean and how can it help improve my wellbeing?Posted Wednesday 18th April 2018

Connecting with other people is one of the ‘five ways to wellbeing’ *

Connect means to invest time in strengthening and broadening relationships with other people – feeling close to others and being valued by others are fundamental human needs. Examples of connecting with others include:

  • Spending time with friends and family
  • Connecting with colleagues at work/school
  • Engaging with your neighbours
  • Getting involved within your local community
  • Joining a club or group
  • Attending local events

Organisations in St Helens that provide opportunities to connect with others include…

  • The Wellbeing Project
  • Community Centres
  • CEN
  • St Helens Volunteer Centre
  • Rotary Club of St Helens
  • Friends of Griffin Wood
  • Friends of St Helens Cemetery and Crematorium

Some of the other five ways to wellbeing can also bring opportunities to connect with other people – for example going along to a fitness class at a local leisure centre can provide an opportunity to meet with like-minded people.

* source: Foresight Project Mental Capacity and Wellbeing (2008)

What does ‘be active’ mean and how can it help improve my wellbeing?Posted Wednesday 18th April 2018

Being physically active and eating well is one of the ‘five ways to wellbeing’ *

Being active doesn’t necessarily mean vigorous exercise as even gentle exercise can release endorphins which improve physical health and can give a sense of achievement. Being active also takes into account eating a healthy and balanced diet. Examples of being active include:

  • Going for a walk/jog
  • Swimming at the local pool
  • Taking up dancing
  • Having a bicycle ride
  • Playing a sport
  • Doing the garden
  • Trying a fitness class
  • Going to the gym

Organisations in St Helens that provide opportunities to be active include…

  • The Wellbeing Project
  • Community Centres
  • Health Improvement Team
  • Go:Active Leisure Centres
  • Age UK

* source: Foresight Project Mental Capacity and Wellbeing (2008)

Is there assistance to help older people learn new things?Posted Wednesday 18th April 2018

Learning is one of the ‘five ways to wellbeing’ and there is a growing body of research that suggests that older people who keep learning can improve their quality and length of life. Learning doesn’t have to be sat in a classroom – it could be trying a new recipe, having a go on a computer or reading a book.

Age UK run a number of ‘lifelong learning’ classes such as ‘Computers for Beginners’, ‘Internet and Email’ and ‘Digital Photography and Enhancement’ that are held in their IT suite within Mansion House. They also run a programme of activities including card making, painting, floristry and different forms of dancing, exercise and therapies – trying one of these for the first time counts as learning!

University of the Third Age is a local group for older people no longer in full-time employment. They provide opportunities for their members to share learning experiences in a wide range of interest groups and to pursue learning; not for qualifications, but for fun. Activities include languages, music, dance, physical activities, reading, gardening, walking and so much more. Groups are held on a weekly basis and anyone is welcome to come along and try something new.

For those unable to access their local library there is also a free home delivery library service. A first referral visit will be carried out at your home to gain an idea of your reading tastes, and then you will be visited every four weeks by a member of the Community Services Team with a selection geared to your choice – click here or contact 01744 677 898 for further information.

I am an older person feeling isolated – what opportunities are there to socialise or meet new people?Posted Wednesday 18th April 2018

Age UK run a befriending/telephone service that offers support and companionship to older people who are socially isolated and are in need of friendship. A volunteer can provide regular visiting and/or telephone calls and also help access other services (e.g. bringing books from the library).

‘Live Wires’ (provided by Independent Age) is a free telephone-based club allowing older people to get together over the phone to discuss books, films or just general chat. A Live Wires club involves reading a book, watching a film or listening to a radio extract (DVDs and books are posted out in advance, free of charge) and then every six or seven weeks the entire group will have a discussion about it over the phone at the same time. All you need is a landline/mobile phone and means that you can talk to new people and learn new things, all without leaving your home.

Attending activities at Community Centres, Day Centres, physical exercise classes, learning opportunities or getting involved with the St Helens Senior Voice Forum are also other great ways to meet new people (see links below).

Independent Age have also produced a free publication called ‘Wise Guide’, that offers live-improving advice for people aged over 65 across a whole range of topics including keeping in touch – click here to order a copy.

What social and leisure opportunities are there for people with dementia?Posted Wednesday 18th April 2018

The Alzheimer’s Society run a weekly activity group that provides people with dementia and their families/Carers with activities and skill developments. The group takes place on a Thursday from 10.30am to 12.30pm at the United Reformed Church, and activities include: quizzes, croquet, darts, crafts and games. The Alzheimer’s Society also hold regular social outings such as walks, visits to garden centres and meals out.


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