When Centacare Support Worker, Kerri, started phoning her clients as part of the organisation’s new ‘in touch’ check-in service, she didn’t expect to have so many conversations about socks.
“Keeping warm has been the single biggest concern for our older clients,” said Kerri. “They are really feeling the cold and the struggle to get warm has been a common complaint.”
When Kerri heard that Jill, 84, from Windsor, was wearing three pairs of socks to bed, Kerri generously gifted her a pair of thermal socks. The socks have made all the difference for Jill, who was freezing through the night. “I actually feel warm now,” said Jill. “I’m just so relieved and so grateful”.
Jill’s plight to get warm inspired Kerri to create the Winter Woolly Drive. Centacare is now calling for the community to donate or knit socks, beanies, scarves and gloves to help people who are suffering in the cold. Centacare clients and staff have jumped on board and are donating or knitting items for Winter Woolly Packs.
“We don’t tend to think about people being cold inside their homes, but the problem is very real,” said Kerri. “Many of our clients, like Jill for instance, live in old Queenslanders, which are known for being cold. The wind whistles around the verandah and they are notoriously difficult to heat. While heating might be installed, it can be can be costly to run so many are reluctant to use it.”
A 2015 study in The Lancet found cold weather killed 2600 Australians every year. The health impact of cold homes include damage to respiratory and cardiovascular systems as well as indirect effects on mental health and nutrition.
Kerri is looking forward to seeing her clients rugged up for the rest of Winter. “I urge people to get involved and give what they can. It’s a really easy way to contribute and it makes every bit of difference knowing you’re helping someone to stay warm.”
Centacare can provide wool to people who would like to knit items. To get involved, please phone 3324 3699.