As this will be a very different winter for everyone, in Falkirk, Scotland, and across the world, we have launched our Wellness in Winter campaign, helping our communities look after each other.
We want to focus on people’s health and wellbeing throughout the winter – everything from physical health (including flu vaccinations and how they are being rolled out) and mental health, to how to keep spirits up during the festive period (and beyond, into January), and financial worries.
Previously, we would have organised events which brought together our local groups and services with our key partners, allowing people to access this information in person, but this year, we want to help Falkirk groups and communities promote their activities and efforts. The list below is the result of this.
We hope you find this page useful, and that you stay safe and well this winter.
On Monday 2nd November, Scottish Government launched the new 5 local protection levels, or “Tiers”, and a postcode checker to help people find the current restrictions in their area. These protection levels replace all previous restrictions and guidelines, with 0 being the lowest level of restriction (“as close as we can get to normality without a vaccine or treatment”), and Tier 4 the strictest.
Since the launch, Falkirk has been ranked as a Tier 3 area.
However, on Tuesday 17th November, it was announced that 11 local authority areas would move into Tier 4 as of 6pm on Friday 20th November, including many of the areas surrounding Falkirk (Stirling, North Lanarkshire, and West Lothian). These changes to protection levels will remain in place for 3 weeks until Friday 11th December.
At the same time, guidance prohibiting travel into or out of Level 3 and 4 local authority areas (except for essential reasons) became law. Under this law, people living in Falkirk must not travel outwith the area. (Exceptions include: travelling to or from work, or to provide voluntary or charitable services, but only where that cannot be done from your home; travel to school; travel for essential shopping, for yourself or on behalf of a vulnerable person.)
Stay up to date with all COVID-19 restrictions via:
Scottish Government has advised that the safest way to spend the festive period is to “#StayAtHome”, but to prevent isolation and loneliness, we’re making some small changes to COVID-19 rules between Wednesday 23rd December – Sunday 27th December.
They have released guidance for the festive period, covering the change in rules and the best ways to stay safe over the festive period.
Changes to the rules include allowing people to travel within the UK to spend Christmas together, in “Bubbles” of up to three households if they wish.
Scottish Government has stressed that no one needs to form a bubble, and that this should be a personal choice only. They have asked people to consider the risks of coming together over the festive period, especially if there are vulnerable people in your household, and have also linked to guides for students coming home for the holidays and for unpaid carers.
The guidance aims to help people who choose to spend Christmas with family and friends stay as safe as possible, and is available to view or download from the Scottish Government website.
Similar to our popular Halloween page, we have gathered information on adapted and safe festive activities across Falkirk, where local groups and communities have proved that however difficult a year it is been, it will not stop people celebrating “the most wonderful time of the year”.
For the full list, please visit the Volunteer Falkirk site.
Or if you think we missed anything going on your community, please contact our team by email:
We know that money worries or pressures add to the concerns of individuals and families, including isolation and the impact seen on mental health and physical health.
In order to help people in Falkirk, and help local groups and services support the people they are engaging with, we have pulled together some information and resources available to help maximise income for individuals and families, especially during COVID-19, including sources of financial assistance and debt counselling.
This new page includes information that families and individuals can access themselves as well as stakeholder and partner resources.
To read the full list, please visit the new Maximising Income page.
- Flu Vaccinations in Falkirk
Work being done across Forth Valley to ensure everyone who should receives a flu vaccine. This winter, vaccinations are being held at community locations (eg. Falkirk Town Hall and pharmacies), as well as some GP surgeries as normal, from October 2020 – March 2021, and patients issued an appointment by letter. This is being done in phases based on the patients’ level of priority, and will be a socially distanced experience.
Phase Two began in November, with those aged 60 – 64 years old now be able to get vaccinated, as well as anyone from the high risk groups who were unable to attend their appointment in Phase One for any reason, and households of people previously shielding from COVID-19.
Everyone who is eligible to receive a free flu vaccine will receive an invitation to attend a flu clinic. Letters are being sent out in batches as part of a rolling programme, so not everyone will receive a letter at the same time. The national system used to issue invites uses each person’s name and address as they are held by GPs. Unfortunately, the system is unable to appoint people in accordance to address. This means that occasionally people who live in the same household may receive appointments at different times.
However, if it is more suitable, people from the same household can select one appointment time and attend together.
For further information on the flu vaccination programme (including how to change your appointment), please visit the NHS Forth Valley website.
- Men’s Mental Health Resources
As November was men’s mental health month, See Me Scotland has been working to highlight how important it is for anyone who identifies as male or a man to be able to talk about how they feel.
Their recent social media poll found that 39% of men were worried about the reactions of others when talking about their mental health, while 30% said that not knowing who to talk to stopped them from opening up.
Additionally, the number of probable suicides in Scotland has risen for the second year in a row, with the majority of these being men, according to new data from National Records of Scotland.
As a result, See Me Scotland is looking at why talking about men’s mental health is important, and what they, and everyone, can do to help.
Societal expectations and stereotypes around having to be strong and “manly” play a role in why men are less likely to talk about their mental health, or seek help for their mental health problems.
See Me Scotland has a series of resources, information and links to help combat this stigma, including myths around men’s mental health, and where to seek help.
For further information, please view the full web article.
We know people often like to give to good causes at this time of year, and this year, like many other sectors, the third sector in Falkirk (and across Scotland) has struggled as funding opportunities decreased while demand for their services rose due to COVID-19, and after many of their regular fundraising activities have been cancelled as a result of the pandemic.
Below, we’ve put together a list of third sector groups and organisations who operate in Falkirk who are looking for donations.
You can also donate at any time to any of the local food providers (many of whom are also running gift donation campaigns to help give the people they support a good Christmas).
- One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS)’ Annual Christmas Appeal
OPFS’ annual Christmas appeal is open – with a twist. Given restrictions, they are asking people to donate online to pay for toys, clothes, food and heating for single parent families, and help make sure every child has a magical Christmas this year.
You can donate online, or text XMASELF to 70085:
- to donate £5 text XMASELF 5
- to donate £10 text XMASELF 10
- to donate £20 text XMASELF 20
For further information, including how to donate online, please visit the OPFS website.
Unpaid carers (including young carers) in the Falkirk and Clackmannanshire areas who are looking for support can contact the Falkirk and Clackmannanshire Carers Centre:
- by phone: Falkirk – 01324 611510; Clackmannanshire: 01259 226839
- by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- via Twitter or Facebook
While guidance is still to remain stay at home during the festive season, we realise that people may be travelling during this time, in order to form festive bubbles, for healthcare, to volunteer (including delivering food parcels and other essentials) or to care for vulnerable people (all allowed in Tiers 3 and 4).
Anyone travelling by car at all during the winter months should make sure they are prepared for a breakdown; the AA has an online checklist on how to build your own winter survival kit for your car. They have also provided tips on driving safely in snow and ice, which may be especially useful for those living in the more rural areas of Falkirk, and other winter driving advice.
The winter survival checklist split into two sections: Winter Car Essentials and Winter Car Emergency Kit.
Winter Car Essentials
- ice scraper and de-icer (if you don’t remove snow and ice properly, you risk 3 points on your licence and a £100 fine)
- torch and spare batteries
- a fully charged mobile phone
- an in-car phone charger or power pack
- sat-nav or a printed route for an unfamiliar journey
- a road atlas
- first aid kit
- empty fuel can
Winter Car Emergency Kit
- warm clothes and waterproofs
- sturdy footwear
- a flask of hot drink
- hi-vis jacket
- warning triangles
- jump leads
For further information (including where to access these items), please visit the AA website.
If you would like to help us build this page or make us aware of anything you know going on, please contact us by email: email@example.com