The clocks have gone back and Halloween is behind us so I can write confidently that whatever the temperature might be as you read this, winter will soon be upon us.
Now I like to try and get into a mindset of looking forward to the winter. It brings with it after all the wonderful festive season and a New Year full of promise and challenge.
But I am a fortunate man. I’m not that old, I’m in good health and I live in a nice warm home. So for me the cold is not a threat, it’s probably more of a conversation piece on a freezing day. But the reality for some is very different. Cold homes are said to contribute to the deaths of almost 44,000 people in the UK every winter.
Well, we’re keen to prevent such occurrences here which is why the Council is offering vulnerable residents free home energy visits between now and March 2017 as part of the WARMTH scheme.
This scheme is delivered by the environmental charity Groundwork London in partnership with the Council and gives health and financial advice to the borough’s most vulnerable households, particularly the elderly and those with multiple health conditions.
The aim of WARMTH is to counter the impacts of cold weather, improve the health and well-being of residents, reduce hospital admissions and help the most vulnerable people in the borough save energy, stay warm and feel more comfortable in their homes.
I think it’s worth repeating that the visits are free and include some really important and practical advice and assistance such as how to switch tariffs and support with utility bills
Where it’s appropriate people will be given energy efficient light bulbs, draught-proofing, radiator panels and energy monitors at no cost. There will also be help with claiming benefits related to energy costs, such as registering with The Warm Home Discount/Priority Services Register. A free Seasonal Stay Warm Pack which includes a fleece top, thermal underwear, socks and a blanket will be given to those at high risk of cold-related illnesses.
Any vulnerable resident is eligible for a visit, particularly those: with multiple health issues, on a low income and aged between 16 and 25, aged over 65, suffering from respiratory diseases and/or cardiovascular disease, with severe mental illness or dementia, on a low income with children under the age of five.
To request a free visit, or refer someone else, email WARMTH@groundwork.org.uk or call 0300 365 5003.
In addition to the WARMTH project, the Council runs the Healthier Homes referral service which is available to residents who are having difficulty keeping their homes warm or keeping up with their energy bills. Please call 0808 202 6204 (free phone) or email HealthierHomes@rbkc.gov.uk.