You’ve probably noticed the colder weather over the last few days. Temperatures are dropping again and the Met Office is predicting the return of snow over the weekend, with more to follow early next week.
Cold weather can be particularly difficult, and dangerous, for some of the more vulnerable people living in our communities – older people, those with certain health conditions and people who are living in fuel poverty are among those who can be at more risk of becoming seriously ill when temperatures fall.
However it’s been announced today that’s there more support available for vulnerable people in Norfolk to keep healthy and warm this winter. A partnership of organisations including councils, charities and community organisations has successfully bid for money from central Government with the sole aim of making sure Norfolk’s residents can stay Warm and Well. They explain more below about the help that’s available.
The cold weather is returning to Norfolk and we’re still well over two months away from the start of spring. While cold weather can make life a bit more difficult for everyone, no one should go cold in their own homes, with their health put at risk as a result – and it’s our aim that no one will.
We have been awarded £283,570 from the Department of Health to help people who are most at risk during the winter months and this will be distributed by Norfolk County Council, Norfolk’s seven district and borough councils, Norfolk Rural Community Council and a variety of voluntary and community groups.
£20,000 of the funding is being put into the Norfolk Community Foundation’s (NCF) Surviving Winter appeal, bolstering the support fund to help the county’s older and vulnerable people to pay their fuel bills during winter.
There is still money available from the Surviving Winter appeal and while the NCF only offer money from the fund to older residents, each case is assessed on an individual basis, so if you think you or someone you know may be eligible then click on the link above and read on for ways to fight fuel poverty.
We’ll also be targeting urgent support to those most at risk of going cold. This will include:
- Warm Packs – these include an advice leaflet, blanket, gloves, thermos mug, room thermometer, bed socks, woolly hat and a hot water bottle
- Blankets for the homeless
- Low cost loans for heating oil with Norfolk Credit Union
- Portable heater loan
- Low level insulation, loft lagging and boiler repairs
- Home visits to vulnerable people
- Emergency heating oil
- Grants for individuals and community groups (through the Community Foundation)
- Training for organisations to identify vulnerable people
People will also be given advice on energy efficiency, preventative health measures and any local support that is available so no one that receives our assistance will have to battle the cold alone.
£40,000 is being made available via the NCF to support small voluntary and community groups to work with people of any age, so there are ways for all Norfolk residents in need to keep warm.
We’re also launching a ‘Warm and Well in Norfolk’ awareness-raising campaign that seeks to help members of the public identify those who are most at risk during cold weather and raise the profile of the help and support that is available. This will include ensuring that those people who are at risk of developing serious complications of flu, such as those aged 65 and over, are aware that it is recommended they receive a free flu jab through the NHS every year. Training for local organisations will also be available so that communities are better able to look out for their vulnerable members.
If you know of someone who may need support to stay warm this winter then please call the Norfolk County Council’s Customer Service Centre on 0344 800 8020 and mention ‘Warm and Well’.
If you’re looking for ways to keep warm without turning up the thermostat, then Age UK has a list of handy tips for economical ways to beat the chill in the winter months.