May 2020 Newsletter from Helen

Dear CGN Member

How are you doing? I realise it must now be getting very frustrating not being able to get out and about, and catch up with friends and family, but I have been hearing encouraging stories about how many of you have been using Skype, Whatsapp and Zoom etc, as well using the time to garden, de clutter and get your ovens the cleanest they have ever been!  Keep that up and then when we return to normal you can come and do mine!!    

Many of you say you are finding the exercise sheets valuable so I have printed of another one for you just for a change, but if you have got into a routine with previous sheets then just continue with them.

Remember the office is still open on 0161 881 2925. Please telephone if you need any shopping doing, bill paying or prescriptions collecting or would like some regular telephone contact from one of our volunteers. Currently we have 20 volunteers supporting 95 older people this way, but there is always room for more, so please get in touch.

For the 100 older residents who usually have a regular visitor, they are now having a phone chat or socially distanced face to face chat at the door, with our 3 community based staff and 45 volunteers…so plenty of support still taking place.

I am sorry that we are not able to resume any of the onsite activities yet as I know how much people are missing the coffee mornings, exercise classes, small group sessions and trips. But we will all be back together again one day; we just have to keep patient for a bit longer.

Other useful or interesting bits of information:

The trip to the National Arboretum booked for Tuesday 19th May has now been postponed until Wednesday 9th September (fingers crossed for that one)

Hearing aid batteries: I still have a supply of hearing aid batteries if you run out so please contact me and I can get a volunteer to drop some to you. I only need to know which hospital originally issued you with your hearing aid.

Chorlton Bike Deliveries:  Order fruit and vegetables from Adams in Chorlton precinct on  a Monday or Friday morning – and one of their volunteers will deliver direct to your door by bike that afternoon. Tel:  881- 1349.  Ali’s post office at Egerton Rd South will take orders for general groceries on 881- 1955 and the Chorlton Cheesemongers for bread and cheeses on 881 1100.

A BIG thank you to:

Unicorn who have given us a £300 voucher to spend on goods from their shop, so we hope to spend that wisely and buy goods that our people might enjoy at this time.

Morrisons for the 39 food and essentials packs donated so far. If you would like to receive a pack please let me know as we do really want to share them around

Celebrations shop who sourced some vinyl gloves so volunteers and staff can support our older people as safely as possible.

CGN member Lorraine for making some lovely birthday cards; talking of which we say Happy Birthday to the following people who celebrate a May birthday : Kazimeira , Sheila A, Esther, David B, Joyce D, Helena G, Mary L, Noreen M, Barbara W, Mary M,  and volunteers Diana, Trish and Leanne.

Thank you also to everyone who has sent in a donation recently, in appreciation for the help received from volunteers or just to show CGN some support

Organisations offering specific support and advice during this time:

Manchester Council Hub for inquiries about food, fuel bills, medicines, and general advice about council services ring 0800 234 6123

Greater Manchester Law Centre has developed a survival kit to support residents and front-line organisations to assist people through the current public health crisis. The Kit includes comprehensive information to help people protect things such as their homes and jobs, explaining people’s rights and clear ways to enforce them. They will be regularly updating this guide through their website. You can access the live version here

They are also running a telephone advice service for people wanting advice on housing, employment and benefits issues. This service is open Monday – Friday, 10am – 3pm. Please call 0161 769 2244, or alternatively you can send your enquiry via email: or

Manchester Citizen’s Advice are still giving advice on 03444 111 222, by Facebook messenger or by webchat.     or

NHS Bereavement Support Line – A bereavement support line has been set up to support people who have lost loved ones. The helpline can offer guidance and advice on dealing with grief and loss. It is staffed by trained nurses who are highly skilled and experienced in working with bereaved families. NHS Bereavement Helpline 0800 2600 400 and is open from 8am to 8pm

Our friends at Big Change are running a voluntary helpline to assist with using mobile phones, Laptops, social media etc. to help you keep in touch with your family and friends. If you need any help at all please telephone 0113 360 8877 between 9-2pm. Say you are with Chorlton Good neighbours and you need some advice /help with your phone /technology .

Guidelines from Positive Living Coach Debra McCallion for those of us who are struggling a little with being bored….

We will all be getting along with this ‘new normal’ in different ways. Some rising to the challenge and others very much muddling through. If you are struggling and getting bored then my advice is don’t compare yourself to others, simply think what can I do differently now. Above all else don’t be self critical as we can fall into a negative downwards spiral that is not going to help.

Try and keep to a good structure each day, with variations and creative options thrown in. Consider that sometimes getting through the day is the best option, other days trying to really deepen all the experiences of the day adds a new dimension. Keep connected to others as much as possible and think how you can be of help to others, even a phone call where you ask more questions than they do is a start! Accept that if you fancy a pyjama day and want to do nothing, that is fine but make it one day then get back into your rhythm again. In addition to these ideas and when the house is spick and span, every surface cleaned and every cupboard de-cluttered then also consider these:

Perfect the day to day: Can you perfect existing dishes that you cook; can these be added to or diversified? Dust off old cook books and try something new that is out of your comfort zone. Do your house plants need extra attention? Research what is their best care and pay extra attention to them. Same with the garden (if you are lucky to have one) do you know if your pots are best placed for maximum health, move them around to improve their growth and pay daily attention.

Document you: Write a timeline of your life, when/where born, first school, first job etc. How often do people ask these questions but that information isn’t written anywhere for others to see. Write up 5 short stories of your life and you decide the headings, e.g. favourite play ground game, best Christmas present ever, favourite all time holiday (wet week in Blackpool was brill!) most inspirational teacher etc.. Use these topics as a basis for your next phone calls. Rather than ask what someone has done, ask what their favourite meal or holiday is etc. This way conversations can head in new, more varied directions.. Get all your old photographs out and write on the back who everyone is and what year it was taken, if you can remember!

Diversify: Shake it up a little. Move the furniture around to create a new aspect in your home. If you always sit on the sofa for breakfast, sit at the table. Sleep on a different side of the bed. If you always listen to talk radio, spend 30 minutes listening to music radio. Watch a film that you predict you might not normally enjoy and see how you go. Draw a picture of yourself and see what emerges! Use the opposite hand to do everyday things, making cups of tea, washing your face, cooking the food. This way you are more present and your awareness of your day deepens.

Finally ….here is something that you might like to help me with

I would like to have your thoughts on how this lockdown is impacting on you? What are you doing differently? How is it affecting you?  I am interested to hear about the good, and the not so good, of having to spend the time like we are doing…..

If you would like to email me or write something down, or even express yourself via a piece of craft or artwork and send it into the office, I am going to create a folder so that people’s memories and experiences of this time can be kept on record. There is no right or wrong; just express yourself how you see it.

It will be interesting for people to read about this in the future, and each one of you will have a different story to tell so please feel free to share your thoughts with me. Thank you.

Email:     or Send to: Chorlton Good Neighbours, Wilbraham St Ninians Church, Egerton Rd South,M21 0XJ

Everyone; please take care, make the most of being outside in your garden if you have one, to get the air and sunshine, don’t struggle if you need some shopping help as volunteers are offering to support you, and above all keep positive and focus on the good times to come !

Kind Regards

Helen, Co ordinator