Supporting our Older and Vulnerable Communities

New Bulletin – please click on the link –

Age Friendly Manchester weekly eBulletin In response to the situation around COVID-19, AFM has moved to weekly eBulletins to provide information, guidance and advice for older people and those who work with and support older people in Manchester.

We hope to keep you up to date with what steps are being taken by the city, and the support being offered by local groups and communities. This is a developing situation so we will try our best to keep you updated as the picture becomes clearer and as more information becomes available.

If your organisation or group are offering any kind of support or help to older or vulnerable residents in your neighbourhood, please let us know and we will be happy to promote it here. Email the Age Friendly Manchester inbox.
The Facts Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice & Guidance – 26 March 2020
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called Coronavirus. For the latest health information and advice, visit
Symptoms of COVID-19 – The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are

a new continuous cough / a high temperature / shortness of breath

If you have these symptoms, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. 

If you live with someone who has symptoms, you’ll need to self-isolate for 14 days from the day their symptoms started. This is because it can take 14 days for symptoms to appear.

You don’t need to tell the NHS you’re staying at home, and you won’t be tested for COVID-19. Only get in touch with the NHS if:

you don’t feel better after 7 days / your symptoms are getting worse / you feel you can’t cope with your symptoms at home.

You should do this by calling the NHS on phone number 111. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

Learn more on the NHS website and on this blog written by Public Health England.
Health Advice & Guidance – Manchester City Council is now sending out daily updates with advice and information about COVID-19. If you would like to receive these, you can sign up for them on our website. You can also check the Council’s website for more advice.
The single most important action we can all take, in fighting COVID-19, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.  This week, the Government introduced three measures:

Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces.
Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public.

Everyone must comply with these new measures to shield the most vulnerable from the disease.

Stay at Home You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:

Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.

One form of exercise a day, for example a walk, either alone or with members of your household.

Any medical need, or to provide care or help a vulnerable person.

Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home. 

Even when doing these activities, you should ensure you are two meters (6 feet) apart from anyone outside of your household.

Closing Non-Essential Shop and Pubic Spaces Last week, the Government ordered certain businesses – including pubs, cinemas and theatres – to close. The Government has now extended this requirement to a further set of businesses and other venues, including:

all non-essential retail stores – including clothing and electronics stores, libraries and community centres, leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, communal places within parks, such as playgrounds and outdoor gyms, places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families, hotels, bed and breakfasts, campsites and caravan parks.

Stopping Public Gatherings To make sure people are staying at home and apart from each other, the Government is also stopping all public gatherings of more than two people. There are only two exceptions to this rule: where the gathering is of a group of people who live together where the gathering is essential for work purposes.
There are some people who need to pay particular attention to the Government’s advice to stay at home and avoid contact with other people. They include:

People aged over 70 (regardless of medical conditions)
People aged under 70 with underlying health conditions, such as; Long-term respiratory disease, e.g. asthma, COPD and emphysema, Heart, liver and kidney disease, Diabetes

See the Government website for a full list.
Washing Your Hands One of the best ways of killing the virus and stopping its spread is by making sure you wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and hot water. Or use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.

You should wash your hands:
For at least 20 seconds when you get home after going out
Before eating or handling food
After sneezing or blowing your nose.

To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and throw it away immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel. If you don’t have any tissues, cough into your sleeve.
Advice translated into different languages Guidance on COVID-19 and staying at home has been translated into Arabic; Bengali; Traditional Chinese/Cantonese; Simplified Chinese/Mandarin; French; Gujarati; Polish; Portuguese; Punjabi; Urdu; and Welsh.
Visit the Government website for more information.
Watch out for COVID-19 related fraud There was a 400% increase in COVID-related scams in March, with victim losses totaling almost £970,000.

Most of the reports are related to online shopping scams where people have ordered protective face masks, hand sanitisers, and other products, which have never arrived.

Protect yourself:

Don’t click on links, or attachments in suspicious emails and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal, or financial details.

If you’re making a purchase from a company, or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first and ask a friend, or family member for advice before completing the purchase. Where possible use a credit card to make the payment, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.Always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from the latest threats.
Action Fraud have the latest advice on avoiding scams.
Support Available To You This is a fast changing situation and over the coming weeks we will be able to share more information about what’s on offer and what new things different groups have developed. In the meantime we’ve listed some local groups details with their telephone numbers and web links. Keep checking in with your local group to find out what’s on offer.
NEPHRA Good Neighbours tel: 07889 258685 NEPHRA has closed down its centre and is moving to doing twice weekly meal deliveries to service users, which will include packs to help keep the mind active. For people who take part in NEPHRA’s card making classes, they will receive crafting packs. For those people who attend the ipad class, these sessions will move to Facetime and group emails. Older service users will also get a regular contact via a twice-weekly telephone befriending call. Please get in touch if you would like to find out more.
Wai Yin Chinese Society tel: 0161 833 0377 or email – While Wai Yin has stopped face to face working, they have established positive ways to communicate with and support the older Chinese community, such as a befriending, telephone daily contact and emergency food parcels. Please get in touch if you would like to find out more.
North Manchester Black Health Forum (NMBHF) NMBHF is continuing its support offer remotely, particularly for older and more vulnerable people who are facing additional barriers such as language barriers, those living alone or in supported accommodation. Please email NMBF for more information and to access support.
Barlow Moor Community Association Tel: 0161 446 4805 or 07985 740 669 – Barlow Moor Community Association have put a comprehensive package of remote support in place which will develop over time, initially we can offer:

Telephone/online befriending and sign posting where required
Referrals to other organisations such as those helping with emergency Food Packs, grass roots community/church groups
Online delivery of courses will continue with remote tutor support e.g. Digital Skills, Food Hygiene, Health and Safety, Allergy Awareness and Safeguarding etc.

We are registered with our linked Foodbank to issue Foodbank Vouchers Electronically.
Levenshulme Good Neighbours Tel: 0161 850 1066 or email Ray – In these troubled times Levenshulme Good Neighbours (LGN), is seeking to create the best-fit response to urgent and critical needs or concerns for over 55s in Levenshulme. LGN is looking to mobilise its 33 DBS cleared volunteers in the following areas:

Telephone befriending at least once a week with a DBS cleared local LGN volunteer Mood, well-being feedback checks of your loved ones through week to week by our staff Service Coordinator Written card messages to send to your loved ones or a neighbour you think may need it (thanks to and their kind donation of 100 cards to lift moods) Potentially shopping drop offs by DBS cleared drivers 

Levenshulme Good Neighbours is a constituted charity that tackles social isolation and loneliness all year round. Thus, it is important that if you feel your neighbour, friend, or relative requires telephone befriending that you use volunteers who are cleared by the state to do so. We hope to work with other organisations in our network and can sign post individuals where needed. Hope to hear from you soon, stay safe and let’s work for a positive sustainable outcome for us all.   
Levenshulme Inspire Tel. 07952 178 459 – For telephone befriending support, food deliveries, books and DVD sharing and more please contact Kate Williams, tel. 07952 178 459. Inspire also continues to provide meals and food bags during COVID-19, offering five take-away meals for £10 to support the most vulnerable. Please call the centre to find out more.
Burnage Good Neighbours Tel: 01614 317 220 or 07395 958 649 –
Burnage Good Neighbours is still here and open (in a fashion) we still have able bodied volunteers willing to do shopping for anyone over the age of 55 and living in Burnage (all DBS checked) also daily/weekly phone calls if required. Burnage Community Centre is closed to all daily groups/activities but BGN can be contacted by phone on the numbers above.
Henshaws – Supporting People with Sight Loss Tel: 0300 222 5555 or email – Henshaws is a charity supporting people living with sight loss. Their First Step team is available to talk to on 0300 222 5555 for any information, advice and guidance you may need. They can:
Provide information on services and support available within your local area, Book a telephone appointment for you to talk to a member of their digital team, so that you can discuss technology which could increase independence provide telephone support from Patient Support Officers, who can help explain medical information and offer advice on relevant aids and equipment

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) helpline is also available to support you. They can give advice on 0303 123 9999.
Wythenshawe Good Neighbours Marie: Mobile: 07875286866 or email: the / Sam: Mobile: 07816960025 or email:

Covid-19 Services: We continue to offer our telephone befriending service, if you would like to access the service yourself or you know someone who would benefit from the service then please call Marie or Sam. We are continuing to help pharmacies to get medication and prescriptions to those who must stay at home.  Again if you would benefit from this service or you know someone who would then please contact Marie or Sam. We will continue to act as a point of contact for any telephone advice, information or guidance around the Covid-19 measures and associated issues older people may face.
LGBT Foundation Tel: 0345 3 30 30 30 – The LGBT Foundation’s helpline has been a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of LGBT people over the last 45 years. If you are feeling worried, isolated or alone during this unsettling time, please do pick up the phone and reach out to us on 0345 3 30 30 30. Please see their website for ongoing updates on access to LGBT Foundation’s services and support.
Manchester Cares has created a calendar of daily activities you can do throughout April. Tasks include:
Imagine you’ve been invited onto Desert Island Disks. What 5 songs represent important moments in your life?
What would your luxury item be?
Sit in front of a mirror. Draw a self-portrait without the pen leaving the page.
Write a letter to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a whie.
Share a favourite memory of the two of you together and a song that reminds you of them.
Vegetarian For Life Vegetarian for Life (V for Life) is an organisation giving diet and healthy living advice for older vegans and vegetarians. There is a number of ways V for Life can support older vegetarians and vegans during this time:

A pen- and phone-pal scheme scheme aiming to connect you with fellow vegetarians and vegans
Posting regular blog posts including a self isolation survival guide and advice on cooking with limited ingredients.Sharing details of companies providing veggie/vegan friendly meal delivery services
Support for Community Groups

We Love MCR CharityCOVID-19 Community Response Grant
We are a City that comes together to help each other when things get tough. It is at the very heart of what it means to be Mancunian. Now more than ever we must support each other. We Love Manchester is coordinating the campaign to get money to the Manchester groups and charities responding to urgent community needs.

Constituted groups and organisations can apply to a new COVID-19 Fund for £500 to £3,000 for the items, equipment or supplies they need to support their communities in this difficult time.
Please visit the We Love MCR Charity website for more information on the grant process. 
Forever ManchesterCommunity Support Fund
During these uncertain times, we know that grassroot community groups are responding to the impact of Covid-19 through kindness, coming together to help those most affected however they can.

To support these local responses, Forever Manchester is offering awards of up to £1,000. Please visit the Forever Manchester website for more information on the award process.  
Food Response A food response model is being put in place across Manchester to help manage the supply and distribution of food packages and meals to those in need. The partnership response is being led by the Council alongside FareShare, Bread and Butter Thing and a host of others.

This is early days and more detail will follow as this emerges. Everything is being done at present to work collectively with partners to ensure food banks are stocked and local people are supported.

Any queries from Manchester based businesses or voluntary sector groups can be directed to 
City-wide Services and Support You can now use your travel pass during rush hour. Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) have lifted rush-hour concessionary travel pass restrictions across Greater Manchester to help older people get to shops during COVID-19.

While unnecessary travel on public transport is discouraged, this decision has been taken after a number of supermarkets announced they would set aside the first hour of business exclusively for older people, the most vulnerable and NHS workers.

Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, said: “We encourage everybody to keep travel on public transport to a minimum and to only make essential journeys. That said, we recognise that some older and disabled people may need to travel earlier than usual to get to the shops or to attend a medical appointment. For that reason, we have decided to lift these restrictions to help older and disabled people get the essential supplies and support they need.”

For the latest information on how public transport services are affected, visit the TfGM website or call 0161 244 1000.
What supermarkets are offering exclusive access for older and vulnerable shoppers?

Tesco – Exclusive access for older and vulnerable shoppers from 9am to 10am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Sainsbury’s – Exclusive access for older and vulnerable shoppers and their carers, from 8am to 9am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 

Marks & Spencer – Exclusive access for older and vulnerable shoppers for the first hour of trading on Mondays and Thursdays.

Iceland – Some stores are opening early for older and more vulnerable shoppers. This varies by store so please check with your local branch.

ASDA, Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl haven’t made any specific provisions for older and vulnerable shoppers at the moment.
Manchester City Council Contact Centre closed to non-emergency calls Manchester City Council’s Contact Centre is now closed to non-emergency calls in order to maintain only essential phone services to support the most vulnerable.

Residents can access most City Council services online at and payments can still be made using the automated payments line on 0161 234 5006.

Urgent enquiries can be emailed to specific email addresses – read more.
Guidance for Carers As the situation with COVID-19 evolves, it’s important to know what support is available to you if you are a carer.

CarersUK have set out the current government guidance as it relates to carers and suggestions for making plans. They have answers to some frequently asked questions and have created a Wellbeing Action Plan with some tailored tips on keeping a positive frame of mind. 

You may also be interested in reading a joint statement about COVID-19 CarersUK have issued with the Carers Trust.
Benefits Advice If your situation has changed and you are struggling to pay your Council Tax, get in touch with Manchester City Council so that they can make sure you’re getting all of the support you are entitled to.

Visit the Council’s website for more detail on: Council tax recovery Changes to Job Centre appointments and Universal Credit Help with food costs while schools are closed Answers to other benefits and money questions.
Protect Bin Crews If you have COVID-19 symptoms, any used tissues should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied when full. After 72 hours the bag should be placed in a second bin bag and tied, then put in your grey outdoor bin. Visit the Government website for more information.

Green garden and food recycling bins and caddies will not be collected until further notice. As a result of this, we ask that you:
Please leave existing waste in the bin;Food waste should be put in your grey general waste rubbish bin instead, until further notice

If you compost at home, please continue to use your compost bin.
Learn more about what changes we are making to bin collections.
Your Wellbeing 

Stay Physically Active Physical activity is more important than ever right now. Being active in a way that is right for you can improve your physical health, help manage stress and anxiety and just generally make you feel better.

In any given day, you can still go outside for one form of exercise, such as a walk or a cycle, if you’re well enough and as long as you’re on your own, or with members of your household. Please always follow the latest official advice on social distancing.

If you don’t think that’s possible, and with us all now spending a lot more time at home, there’s lots of free online content to help you get active.

Read Sport England’s guidance on staying active at home and try out some of the exercises listed below:
10 Today: Short ten minute routines to get you stretching and moving. Find out more and access the resources here.
Super Six – Exercises to improve your strength and balance: Six simple exercises that can help you stay steady and stronger for longer that can be done at home. Take a look here and press play all.‘I CAN’ Active Calendar 2020: Later Life Training have made their new ‘habit forming, movement prompting, strength and balance monitoring’ 2020 calendar free to download. Please visit their website here. Make Movement Your Mission: If you are on Facebook, join Bex from Monday 23 March to Monday 20 April at 8am, 12noon and 4pm for a daily 10 minute workouts on the Make Movement Your Mission Facebook page.
Sitting Exercises: These exercises are done while sitting; a great place to start to build strength and balance. See the exercises here.
Flexibility Exercises: These flexibility exercises can be done at home to help improve your mobility. See the exercises here.
Balance exercises: There simple balance exercises can be done at home to help make you feel more steady in walking and moving. See the exercises here.
Movement for those with Osteoporosis or Osteopenia: You can watch and follow the online videos offered by the Royal Osteoporosis Society – See the exercises here.

Greater Sport have also pulled together some tips, advice, guidance and things you can do to keep moving during this time of physical distancing on their website.
Support from PARS on Facebook manchester’s Physical Activity Referral Service (PARS) helps people living with long term health conditions to stay physically active. The service provides advice and access to exercise, led by highly qualified exercise professionals.

The sessions are normally run across Manchester in local leisure and community centres. During COVID-19, they have set up a Facebook page to share exercise videos on a daily basis.

Visit the Facebook page to read more about the team, follow exercise videos and to find out more.
Have you come up with new ways of keeping active? MCRactive wants to hear from you!

MCRactive is a central source of information offering advice, guidance and tips on physical activity and moving more. During this unprecedented time, they are using social media to share daily messages to support everyone to be more active. Have a look at their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

You can also ask questions and chat with them directly about physical activity.

What are you doing to start or stay active while at home? If you have a short video, image or message to share, please contact MCRactive either by email or though their social media accounts. 
Stay Mentally Active You might be worried about COVID-19 and how it could affect your life, especially if you have been advised to self-isolate.

This might feel difficult or stressful. There are lots of things you can try that could help your well-being. 
Stage shows, musicals and opera you can watch online now for free

Whats on Stage has complied a list of over 40 stage shows, musicals and opera you can watch online.

Google Arts & Culture features content from over 1200 leading museums and archives who have partnered with the Google Cultural Institute to bring the world’s treasures online.
The Storybox Project – At Home

The Storybox Project are currently offering free access to their archive of dementia friendly creative activities. There is a mixture of activities for family carers, those working on a one to one basis and those in groups. Many of the activities are easy to deliver digitally if you’re able to use Skype.

Read more and sign up on the Storybox Project website.
Listen to your local community radio station – Wythenshawe Community Radio – FM 97.2 / aLL FM, serving south, central and east Manchester – FM 96.9
BBC broadcasting religious services across local radio stations. The BBC is broadcasting a series of church services, following the decision by the Church of England and some other faiths to suspend services during COVID-19.

The ‘national wireless congregation‘ will be able to tune in at 8am every Sunday across all 39 BBC local radio stations. Each service will be led by a leader from a different denomination.
Manchester’s Libraries All libraries in Manchester are now closed until further notice, but you can still access many services online.

Audio books and e-books – Use BorrowBox to browse, borrow and read to listen to ebooks and audio books. To download the app, go to the app store on your device, search for and download Borrowbox. Read about Trish’s experience of using BorrowBox on the City Council website.

E-magazines and comics – You can read full digital copies of magazines for free from your computer, smartphone or tablet. Over 95 magazines are currently available covering everything from food to computers, and music to art. You can borrow an unlimited number of magazines to keep forever or delete when you want. To download the app, go to the app store on your device and search for RB Digital.

Courses and Tutorials – Get free courses and tutorials from Manchester’s online reference library. The Library also offers an online learning package which includes 100+ language courses.
And Breathe….Audio guide from Manchester Art Gallery Manchester Art Gallery has four guided mindfulness sessions which are free to listen to on their website.

Mindfulness is a simple form of mediation that involves us being aware of our thoughts, feelings and emotions as well as our surroundings, moment by moment. 

Visit the Art Gallery website for more information.
Visit ChatterPack for virtual trips out and entertainment you can access online.
The charity MIND has written guidance on steps you can take to take care of your mental health on their website.
Changes to TV Licences  The BBC has decided that, because of coronavirus and the challenges to the UK, changes to over 75 licences won’t now happen until 1 August. This means that your current free licence will remain valid until then.

If you are receiving Pension Credit and you are ready to apply for your free licence now, you can still do this. But there is plenty of time so there is no hurry and please don’t feel you need to apply straightaway if you are worried about leaving your home.If you have already applied for your new licence and sent us information about your Pension Credit, we are processing your application and we will be in touch with you before the new policy starts. If you are not receiving Pension Credit, you don’t need to do anything just yet.

TV Licensing will write to you in plenty of time before the policy changes to let you know what you will need to do.  For more information, visit their website.
Pension Credit: Are you Eligible? If you’re over State Pension age, you may be eligible to get Pension Credit to help with the cost of living. There are up to 1.3 million older people in the UK who are missing out on money that could be theirs. You could be eligible even if you have an occupational pension, savings, or own your own home. 

If you get Pension Credit, you may get other help too, like with housing costs, council tax or heating bills.

To find out more, and check whether you’re eligible, go to or call 0800 99 1234.
Offering Your Support To Others

Manchester’s Community Volunteering Scheme Manchester Community Central (Macc – a registered charity) are also co-ordinating a COVID-19 Community Volunteering scheme. It’s fantastic to hear that so many people want to help those in need. Support is welcomed, though only when it’s safe to do so. You can sign up for opportunities that best match your situation and the support required.
Appeal from AgeUK Manchester AgeUK Manchester are setting up donation and distribution hubs in Openshaw, Wythenshawe and Gorton to provide local older people with daily essentials.

They are particularly in need of:

Paper products, e.g. toilet roll, kitchen roll, tissues
Cleaning products
Non-perishable food items
Things to pass the time when in isolation, e.g. books, crossword books, jigsaws etc.

Donations can be dropped off Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm at:

Gorton Day Centre, Melland Centre, Mount Road, Gorton. M18 7QR

Crossacres Care Home, Reel Hall Road, Wythenshawe, M22 5DG

Openshaw Resource Centre, 10 Catherine Street, Openshaw. M11 1WF.

For more information, donations out of hours or for more information, please email Terri.
VolunteerGM People across Greater Manchester give their time freely to help others and make the world a better place. Volunteering can just be for a one-off event, a few days, or maybe a longer term commitment.

In the current circumstances, that support is needed even more and lots of people want to find ways they can help.

This is why the Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has launched a website to help you find local organisations to register an interest with in volunteering in your local community. They will talk to you about what you could do, and try to connect you with a suitable volunteering role.

Read more and sign up to offer your support on the VolunteerGM website.
NHS Volunteer Responders has been set up to support the NHS during the COVID-19 outbreak. To do this we need an ‘army’ of volunteers who can support the 1.5m people in England who are at most risk from the virus to stay well. Our doctors, nurses and other professionals will be able to refer people in to NHS Volunteer Responders and be confident that they have been matched with a reliable, named volunteer.

Volunteers must be 18 or over, and fit and well with no symptoms. Those in higher-risk groups (including those over 70, those who are pregnant or with underlying medical conditions) will be able to offer support by telephone.

You can help by signing up for one or more of the tasks listed below. Community response volunteer Patient transport volunteer NHS transport volunteer Check-in and Chat volunteer

Visit the Volunteer Responders website for more information, and to register your interest. 
The Age-Friendly Manchester Team Established in 2003 as Valuing Older People, Age-Friendly Manchester is a partnership involving organisations, groups and individuals across the city playing their part in making Manchester a great place to grow older.

Contact the team at