THE weather has certainly turned colder in the past few days, which has probably prompted you all to add extra layers, turn up the heating and start thinking about the winter months ahead.

While it’s great to think ahead and start getting prepared, I wonder how many of us consider those who live nearby who might need a little assistance?

I’m talking about our neighbours, and especially those who may struggle to get out and about or who don’t receive many visitors.

Social isolation can affect anyone of any age, and doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is lonely and vice versa.

A person can have a large group of friends and family but still feel alone, while someone who doesn’t particularly feel lonely might live in isolation and unconnected from vital services.

Studies show that people who are isolated or who feel lonely are more likely to suffer from health problems.

There are lots of projects currently operating in Bolton which are aimed at tackling social isolation, such as Men in Sheds, Age UK’s Befriender scheme, and Ambition for Ageing to build community connections for older people.

But what I’m asking is that we all take time to consider our neighbours.

We often use the expression ‘we all lead busy lives’, but not everyone does and your neighbour might not see another person for days on end.

A smile or a wave costs nothing at all, and knocking on their door to ask if they need anything might add extra time to your day - but could be the only conversation your neighbour has that day.

If you go one step further and offer to collect their prescription or take them to the shops, you can provide practical help.

But simply making time to engage with your neighbour could have a positive effect on their health and wellbeing.