We know that winter can be a difficult time, which is why we have pulled together some useful information and resources to help support you or someone you care for during this time.
Oxfordshire County Council Resident Support Scheme
The Resident Support Scheme will help with short-term basic living costs such as food and credit for gas/electric prepayment meters. It can also help in some circumstances with white goods, furniture and clothing. It is intended to meet one-off crisis or emergency need and is not designed to meet any type of ongoing expenses.
All residents aged 16 years or over are eligible to apply but the council has identified the following groups as a priority to support:
- Those experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse
- Families with young children
- Older people
- People with longer-term illnesses
- People with disabilities
- People with mental health needs
- Households with a pregnant person
Visit here for more information.
Better Housing Better Health
This service is here to help keep residents warm and well at home, whilst also improving the energy efficiency of their homes.
Their experienced team provide free, confidential advice and solutions tailored to meet a home's specific circumstances. Some solutions could be switching energy suppliers, maximising income or signing up to the Priority Services Register.
Visit here for more information.
Welcome the Warmth
The 'Welcome the Warmth' scheme is fully funded by the Oxfordshire County Council, with the aim to improve the energy efficiency of low-income and low-energy performance homes. If you are eligible to receive funding, it can be used on the following energy efficiency measures:
- Solid Wall Insulation (internal or external)
- Cavity Wall Insulation
- Underfloor Insulation
- Loft Insulation
- Room-in-Roof Insulation
- Park Home Insulation
- Air Source Heat Pump
- Solar PV Panels
- High Heat Retention Storage Heaters
To find out if you are eligible please visit here.
Age UK Winter Wrapped up
Cold weather can lead to worries about our health and energy bills, especially as we get older. Shorter days and longer nights can also leave us feeling out of sorts. Age UK's 'Winter Wrapped up' guide explains what you can do to get you and your home ready for winter, and points you in the right direction if there’s a problem.
Oxfordshire Warm Spaces
There are many organisations, churches, libraries and other venues that are opening their doors to people for free this winter and providing a welcoming warm space. These warm spaces also offer an opportunity to connect with people locally. You can find information about local warm spaces online at www.warmwelcome.uk and www.warmspaces.org – if you’d like any
additional support to find a local warm space please do call us on 01235 849 410.
NHS Seasonal Vaccinations
It is important to get your seasonal flu and COVID-19 vaccinations if you are at higher risk of getting seriously ill from these illnesses.
If you are eligible for a flu vaccine you can get it from your GP Surgery or a local pharmacy that offers them.
Falls Prevention During Winter
In winter it’s more important than ever to keep moving in a way that works for you. Moving more can make a huge difference not just to your physical health, but to your mental health and wellbeing as well – it can help improve your strength and balance, prevent falls, provide an instant wellbeing boost, and can be fun too!
Here at Age UK Oxfordshire, we run Stay Strong and Steady, a falls prevention exercise and information programme designed specifically for older adults who are concerned about their balance. The programme is accessible through in-person local community classes, online via Zoom or through an at-home programme.
- Stick to common routes/paths.
- Try to do regular exercise to maintain your strength and balance. If you can't do it outside, try doing something inside.
- Have regular eye tests to help recognise if you need glasses or a new prescription.
- Carry a phone or alert device to call someone for help if needed.
- Keep an eye on the weather forecast.
- Take extra care if the ground is slippery. Wear shoes with a good grip and consider keeping a salt and sand mixture handy to grit paths.
- You could ask your neighbours for help to clear paths or driveways in bad weather – most people are more than happy to help.
Priority Services Register
The Priority Services Register (PSR) makes sure that energy suppliers are aware of people’s individual circumstances in order to do their utmost to prevent your supply from going off.
If you are cut off, they will make sure your service returns as a matter of urgency, providing additional support if necessary in the meantime.
You can sign up for free if you meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Have reached state pension age
- Are disabled or have a long-term medical condition
- Have a hearing or sight condition
- Have a mental health condition
- Have extra communication needs (e.g. language barriers for speaking and reading)
There may also be temporary circumstances that mean that you qualify for a limited period, for example, if you have recently returned from hospital or experienced a bereavement.
For more information please visit here or contact your local energy provider directly.
Oxfordshire Talking Therapies
As we move through different stages of life and our circumstances change, our mental health can change too. Being worried, low or out of sorts aren't just part and parcel of getting older - they're important signs that you're not feeling as well as you should be. Signs of stress can include restlessness, feeling on edge or worrying. It’s normal for us all to experience these at some time or other, but if the feelings remain it may be time to seek some support.
There is free, confidential support available from Oxfordshire Talking Therapies, an NHS talking therapies service that can offer evidence-based talking therapies for these difficulties. It is available to anyone over the age of 18 registered with an Oxfordshire GP. It’s easy to refer yourself on the Oxfordshire Talking Therapies website or by calling 01865 901 222, or you can speak to your GP who can refer you.
Check your benefits entitlement
There are many different entitlements available to older people, and as we age our circumstances can change, so it is good to check you are not missing out on anything. Major life changes can bring about new entitlements to benefits, so it is particularly important that if you have recently experienced a major change in your life you find out if this has affected your entitlement to benefits. We can help you to understand what you are entitled to and how to apply.
Visit our Information and Advice page to find out more.
Age UK Oxfordshire's Winter Wellbeing Pack
We are also aware that not everyone has or wants access to the internet so we have created physical Winter Wellbeing packs which we can post out to you for any older people or groups you support / connect with.
- Our ‘Little Handbook of our Services’ letting you know about the different services we offer
- Our Cost-of-Living Payment Grid helping you identify any entitlements that may be available to you
- A ‘Winter Wrapped up’ Guide (from Age UK) containing lots of information about staying safe and well this winter
- A Live Well Oxfordshire bookmark providing details of how to get in touch to find out about social opportunities and support services in your community
- An Oxfordshire Talking Therapies leaflet linking you with the service that can support your mental wellbeing
For more information and to request a ‘Winter Wellbeing Pack’ in the post please call 0345 450 1276 or email email@example.com