Renfrewshire Council

Howwood offer a warm welcome through the Winter Connections programme

The community of Howwood gave a warm welcome to Councillor Jacqueline Cameron, chair of Renfrewshire Council's Fairer Renfrewshire sub-committee, when she visited their monthly coffee morning recently.

The monthly event brings together around 50 people from the local area and is organised by Howwood Parish Church and Friends of Howwood Park. It is part of the Renfrewshire Winter Connections programme—funded through the £85,000 Winter Connections Grant Fund—and is one of four activities in the local area on the programme.

Gillian Whyte, who helps to organise the event, said it gives people a chance to get together and connect with one another in a warm and welcoming space with hot drinks and home baking. She said: "The coffee mornings in the village are well attended, and people really enjoy them. Having somewhere local to meet up with other people during the winter months is great for the villagers, especially those who live alone.

"The funding from Winter Connections has made the coffee mornings—and all the other events we have organised—possible, and we are very grateful to Renfrewshire Council for giving it to us."

At the coffee morning, Councillor Cameron had the chance to talk to everyone and find out the things that were important to them. She said: "It was lovely to see first-hand how local groups are using the funding to bring people together and help them connect during the winter months when people are usually less able to be active due to the weather.

"Having a space like this to meet and talk over tea, coffee and home baking helps to reduce isolation and support people to make friends and keep up connections."

The Winter Connections programme is in its second year and was set up to help support people during the cost-of-living crisis. The activities and events in the programme are run by local groups and organisations.

Feedback from the first programme said it had improved social connection and reduced isolation. It also supported new people to come along to local activities and had created a sense of belonging in the local community.

Councillor Cameron added: "Community groups and organisations are such an important part of the community and the work they are doing here through the Winter Connections programme is giving people a chance to talk about any issues they are facing in a safe, supportive and non-judgmental environment."

People can visit the Winter Connections webpage to see what events are taking place in their local area.

Anyone looking for help and support can visit the Council's cost of living webpage, make an appointment with the Council's Advice Works team by emailing or calling 0300 300 1238, or make an appointment with Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau by visiting their website or calling 0141 889 2121.

Published Wednesday 21 February 2024.