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Winter Wellbeing

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service joins forces with Public Health England to keep people warm and well this winter


Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) staff are joining forces with Public Health England (PHE) this winter to help communities stay well and warm through the cold months ahead.

The Stay Well This Winter campaign will see fire and rescue staff across the City Region offering advice to residents on how to stay warm and healthy during Safe and Well Visits.  Staff will also be delivering winter warmth bags to the Greater Manchester’s most vulnerable elderly residents.

GMFRS is teaming up with PHE to help ease pressure on the City Region’s hospitals and GP surgeries.  Chair of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor David Acton, said: “Years of prevention work across Greater Manchester has taught us how closely linked fire risk and poor health are.  Safe and Well Visits have put our crew firmly within the public health workforce and it’s only natural for us to support our colleagues in the NHS.  No-one should suffer from the cold over the winter – there are lots of way you can keep warm safely and stay healthy.

Fire and rescue staff across Greater Manchester will be on hand to offer advice to our most vulnerable residents this winter, but there are some simple steps you can take to stay safe”:

  • Make sure you get your flu jab.
  • Keep your home at 18°C (65°F) or higher if you can.
  • Take advantage of financial schemes and discounts to help you pay for heating.
  • Visit your local pharmacist as soon as you start to feel unwell.
  • Look out for other people who may need a bit of extra help over the winter.

Professor Keith Willett, Medical Director for Acute Care at NHS England added: "The NHS is here to help, but there are important things we can all do to take care of ourselves during the winter months.  It is vital that the most vulnerable people take preventative steps to keep healthy and stay well.  We have a high number of A&E attendances over this time that are due to issues, which could have been avoided had people sought advice at the first sign of illness.  We are urging people to take practical steps such as to wrap up warm before the temperature dial hits freezing.  Research shows even at above freezing temperatures, for every one degree centigrade drop below five degrees, there is a resulting increase in older people consulting their GP for breathing problems, as well as an increase in deaths.”

Further details regarding the Stay Well This Winter campaign can be found at

To book a FREE Safe and Well Visit please visit or call 0800 555 815.


From left to right: Councillor Tom McGee, Executive Councillor (Health), Stockport MBC, Councillor David Acton, Chairman, Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Authority, Andrew Webb, Corporate Director (People), Stockport MBC, Watch Manager Steve Bullock, GMFRS, Sister Jan Sinclair, Senior Health Care Public Health Nurse, Dr Donna Sager, Deputy Director of Public Health, People's Directorate, Stockport MBC, Paul Starling, Borough Based Group Manager, Stockport and Tameside (December 2016)



Winter can be a difficult time for many people. Long periods of darkness, cold weather, isolation and the prospect of Christmas can have a negative impact upon people's mental health. There are things that you can do to help to keep yourself and those you care about safe and well during this time.

Your mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical health. Following these five ways to wellbeing can help to improve your mental health and wellbeing

Connect…with the people around you and invest time in developing relationship. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.

Be active…exercising makes you feel good. Discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness

Take notice… Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Reflecting on your experiences will help you to appreciate what matters

Keep learning...Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun

Give… Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you


Advice for people spending Christmas alone

Christmas can be stressful time for many different reasons. It can be hard for people who are going to be alone or for those who are going to be spending extended periods of time with family that they wouldn't usually see. Loneliness and isolation are often associated with Christmas and it is recognised that many people require additional help and support at this time of year.

Ten Christmas wellbeing tips:

Mind supporters and staff share 10 tips for a restful Christmas:

1. Honesty

Try to be honest with people if you’re finding things overwhelming and you’re not feeling up to getting involved in everything.  Don’t be afraid to cancel plans if you’re not feeling up to it.  Sometimes you need to put yourself first.

2. Press pause

If you’re someone who has a tendency to take on too much, the demands of Christmas can make this even worse.  Remember you can only do so much, stop if it’s becoming too much and just try to relax and look after yourself.

3. Pyjamas! 

In between all the social arrangements, make sure you have a day to hang out at home in your pyjamas.  Christmas is the season of hanging out in your pyjamas.

4. Get unstuck

Make sure you’re not too house-bound and spend all the time eating and drinking! A brisk walk outside is a nice way to spend time with loved ones, or a day trip somewhere.  Things can get quite intense if you’re stuck in the house all the time, and a bit of exercise helps too.

 5. Don’t believe the hype

Don't compare yourself and your Christmas with the representations of perfect Christmas moments on social media or on adverts.  Remember that everyone is only sharing the good bits and that we don't know what is going on behind the scenes.  Don't get sucked into measuring your experience against something that's ultimately fake.

6. Bed head

Give yourself a head start – try to go to bed early on Christmas Eve so you feel well-rested on the day itself.

7. Talk    

If you are feeling overwhelmed or under pressure, talk to someone about it.  If you are worried about how you might feel on the day, talk to someone else who will be there too so they can support you when needed during the festivities.

8. Plug yourself in

If you are staying in an overcrowded house with people going to the loo at all hours, make sure you take ear-plugs to maximise your chance of a decent night’s sleep.

9. Give yourself a prezzie

Make sure you take some time out after Christmas to do something you really want to do, no matter how small.  Think about what you want to get out of the Christmas break; don’t feel like you have to do or be anything because it’s expected. 

10. Be a volunteer

Many charities and organisations need help at Christmas and you could think about spending a few hours working as a volunteer.  Visit our page at Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue for more information:


Mental Health and Suicide Prevention


Managing your debt


Need further advice and support?

If you are concerned about your own mental health or that of someone you care for make an appointment to see the GP.

The following organisations are also available for advice and support

ROSPA - Telephone 0121 248 2000 /

Met Office -

The Samaritans – Telephone 116 123 /

Mind, for better mental health - Telephone 0300 123 3393 /

Alzheimers - Telephone 0845 300 0336 /

Age UK - Telephone 0800 169 6565 /

NHS Direct - Telephone 0845 4647 /

Princess Royal Trust for Carers - Telephone 0808 808 7777 /


Social isolation

The video below highlights how loneliness effects people.