“There is an average of 26,700 excess winters deaths in England and Wales over the last ten years. Each winter, 1 older person dies needlessly every 7 minutes from the cold – that’s 200 deaths a day that could be prevented.” (Age UK)
This is an astounding figure and something that should concern us as Muslims. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Man is doomed and a loser if Allah does not put compassion for mankind in his heart.” (al-Silsilah al-Saheehah)
It is from values of Islam that we should have compassion and mercy for those within our community, especially those who are considered as vulnerable and in need. Among those who fall into this category are the elderly within our communities; regardless of their colour, religion, gender, the elderly are at risk during the winter months.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said, “He is not one of us who does not show mercy to our young ones and respect our old ones.” (Tirmidhi)
Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to show compassion towards the elderly as a sign of mercy in our heart and as a sign of caring for those in need. With more budget cuts taking place every year, the plight of the elderly has sparked a renewed interest amongst many organisations and individuals across the UK. Many have emphasised that the elderly are not receiving the respect and dignity they deserve.
To build this foundation of creating a caring society, the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) are launching our “Elderly Care Project – The Winter Warmth Campaign”. This project involves setting up guidelines to motivate Muslim communities to provide essential items that can help keep the elderly warm, as well as forging links to keep them company on a regular basis and become a means of support for them.
It’s time for us to get involved!
See previous examples of this campaign:
1: GET READY
- Contact your local Age UK office, council or any local organisations that work with the elderly.
- Explain to them that you are from the local Islamic organisation and that the local community would like to help the elderly this winter by providing and distributing essential items to keep them warm. Find out what information they need from you to go ahead with this project and if they can offer any help or advice in regards to which areas are most in need.
- Utilise your Social Media links to encourage local Muslims to come and take part, even if it is just to help sponsor or fund the project. This includes marketing the activity via posters in masjids and shops or leaflet distribution after jumm’ah (See Elderly Care Project – Poster and Flyer) (NOTE: Set a cut-off point for donations)
- Purchase necessary items or encourage others to donate items to you (see Items list). Once items have been collected, sort out the goods accordingly.
- Reach out to the media with a Press Release and approach local journalists (see Elderly Care Project Press Release Template for guidance).
- Make sure you are ready to get the right kind of footage throughout the activity (see Media and Footage guidance)
2: TAKE ACTION
- With a team of six (3 brothers, 3 sisters), meet up at the venue, preferably 30 minutes early to setup the items. This also gives the team leader a chance to discuss any requirements or plan with the centre manager.
- Display all items in a professional manner.
- The Project leader should brief the team and remind them to show their Muslim etiquettes and teachings of kindness throughout (i.e. be friendly and smiling at all times)
- The Project leader then makes a quick announcement to the elderly and staff about WHO they are, WHY they are here and HOW they collected the items.
- Encourage the elderly to come up to the stalls and collect items. Some may be reluctant to come and collect items, but tell them it is free. Make sure you have plastic bags for them to put items in.
- The Project leader then hands iERA gift boxes to each volunteer to take to a group of elderly or a table. Give out the boxes and talk one on one to each elderly with the chance of explain a little more about the project and also about Islamic values. Build a positive relationship with the elderly.
- Once all elderly have collected their items, give them a chance to settle back in their seats. All volunteers should sit at a table and engage with the elderly. This builds a relationship with each individual and the volunteer must be a good listener as most elderly wish to tell their own stories. If appropriate, give the elderly an iERA giftbox.
- Request video feedback from residents or a picture. Get formal feedback interviews with beneficiaries, team volunteers and with liaison/organiser (see Media and Footage guidance for full details)
3: FOLLOW UP
- Once you have completed the activity, assemble the team together and get a brief feedback from them all.
- Footage is pivotal because through it, we can motivate Muslims across the UK (and potentially the world!) to do the same activity.
- Upload videos and pictures onto social media using hashtags #ElderlyCareProject #WinterWarmthCampaign, or email our media department (media@iERA.org). We will give you access to our Dropbox to upload the footage and we will also edit the video for you.
4: CAMPAIGN TOOLS
Download the following free tools to run the ‘Elderly Care Project’ in your local area:
☑ Media + Footage Guidelines
☑ Template Press Release (to send to your local media)
☑ Campaign logos and posters (for social media)
- Thermal Socks
- Thermal wear
- Hot water bottles
- Thermal cups