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Woman on her ownWhen Vera's boiler broke down one winter, Spread the Warmth was able to lend a helping hand. She tells us her story.

*Vera is 73 and lives in the Midlands

"My house is quite old and I can't bend down or kneel any more to sort things out, so I suppose there were quite a few things that needed doing.

I got in touch with Age UK to see if they could help me. I think they were quite surprised, because the boiler had gone on the blink and I couldn't get the radiators to work properly.

Thinking about it, it had probably been like that for a couple of months, but I was able to cope by sitting next to the fire in the living room and putting on an extra jumper and coat.

'Gas costs so much now, doesn't it?'

Brenda from Age UK came round to see me and have a chat. She arranged for a local heating engineer to come round, who fixed the boiler and checked the radiator.

Brenda also arranged for a Handyperson to come and fit draught excluders – I never knew how much difference such a small thing like that would make, but they really stopped the cold.

The other thing she did was got in touch with the gas company and changed my rate. I also now pay monthly, which spreads the costs of the gas throughout the year.

I've started using my gas hob again instead of relying only on my microwave and the house is so much warmer during the winter.

I was silly for leaving it so long, but gas costs so much now, doesn’t it?"

Find your nearest Age UK shop

*Picture posed by a model

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The story so far...

Spread the Warmth is now in its 3rd year. Here's a little taster of how we managed to help people last winter.

How we've helped so far

Handyperson fitter