Winter Warmth event helps residents keep warm and well

Across the UK during 2012-13 there were an estimated 31,100 extra deaths over the winter period. And older people who may be frail, or who have existing health conditions, are particularly at risk.

That’s why each year St Helens Council and local partners undertake a
Winter Warmer campaign. This year St Helens Winter Warmer campaign forms part of the VIRIDIS Winter Warmth campaign which is backed by 17 local authorities and housing associations in the Liverpool City Region. The Mersey-wide campaign is designed to deliver essential information to
residents on how best to stay warm and well over winter, whilst saving
money and becoming more energy efficient.

This year’s well-attended exhibition in the town hall welcomed
representatives from several key organisations, including St Helens
Council’s Home Improvement Agency, Age UK Mid Mersey, St Helens Healthy Living Team, St Helens Senior Voice Forum and Scottish Power Energy Network – the campaign’s sponsors – among others.

Hundreds of free winter warmer packs were handed out to event-goers. Each contains a hat, scarf, gloves, torch, hot chocolate and calendar with
essential information and more. The packs are available to St Helens more
vulnerable residents. The packs are available for collection in November at
a St Helens Library near you on the dates shown below. They’re also
available from Age UK Mid Mersey at the Mansion House, and if you have a carer or are a carer yourself, you can collect from St Helens Carers’
Centre, or Freephone 08000 355 878 for alternative collection locations.

The council is also urging residents to keep an eye on older friends,
neighbours and relatives as winter starts to tighten its grip.

St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing,
Councillor Jeanie Bell, said: “We’re asking everyone to remember the needs of friends, relatives and neighbours who could be at risk. Many people are not aware that by not keeping warm they may be putting themselves in danger.

“Heating homes to at least 18C in winter reduces the health risk from cold
indoor temperatures if you are wearing suitable clothing – ideally several
thin layers. Temperatures can be set on a timer so that rooms that you
spend most time in are heated when they need to be, which can help keep
costs down.”

Director of Public Health Liz Gaulton added: “Being too cold can cause
serious problems for your breathing if you have a bad chest. Sitting for
long periods in a cold home can put pressure on your heart and blood
circulation too – leading to very serious problems such heart attacks and
strokes.

“If you have reduced mobility, are over 65, or have a health condition,
such as heart or lung disease, then having room temperatures slightly
higher than 18C could be good for your health.”

If you’re willing to go the extra mile for vulnerable residents, Age UK and
partners are currently recruiting cold weather volunteers. Volunteers
should have a reasonable level of fitness, as they may be called upon to
clear snow from vulnerable residents’ drives and paths. Age UK are also
seeking ‘tele-befrienders’ – volunteers willing to check in with
potentially isolated people regularly via phone. Contact the Cold Weather
Advice Line for details on this and a range of topics on 08000 355 878.

Top tips for keeping snug, warm and well this winter:

·    Keep warm and healthy by keeping rooms heated to at least 18C.

·    Don’t put off getting the flu vaccination. If you’re eligible get it
now – it’s free because you need it.

·    Look out for friends, relatives and neighbours who may be vulnerable
to the cold.

Stay tuned to the weather forecast and plan ahead with supplies.

·    If you meet the criteria for the Priority Services Register of your
energy or water suppliers, get yourself registered now – it’s free
and can help you in many ways.

·    Have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day and keep                 active to help you stay warm.

·    Get financial support to make your home more energy efficient,
improve your heating or help with bills.

·    Get a tariff check, register for collective switching or get a
benefits check.

·    Have your heating and cooking appliances checked regularly.

·    Wear a few layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer, and
when you need to go outside wear shoes with slip resistant, good grip
soles.

Winter survival packs will be distributed between 10.30am and 12.30pm
(unless stated otherwise) at the following libraries on the dates shown:

11 November – Haydock
12 November – Peter Street
13 November – Billinge
17 November – Chester Lane
18 November – Newton (1.30pm – 3.30pm, Please note this has been
re-arranged from the 16 November)
18 November – Parr
19 November – Rainford
20 November – Eccleston
23 November – Thatto Heath
24 November – Moss Bank
25 November – Central
26 November – Garswood (2pm-4pm)
27 November – Rainhill