Age UK Solihull is commissioned by Solihull Council to deliver the annual Partnership Winter Warmth Campaign. The best way to avoid problems during the winter is to be well prepared. Having your heating serviced, improving your insulation, stocking up with food essentials and ensuring you have your annual flu jab are easy steps to prepare well. Our temperature and information card gives lots of tips and advice on keeping warm throughout winter and is available free from the Winter Warmth Helpline.
Winter Warmth Helpline 0121 704 8080 - Lines are open from 9:00am - 5:00pm from October to March. At other times of the year opening times will vary.
Why is the Winter Warmth campaign important?
People with pre-existing medical conditions, usually related to heart and respiratory problems, are most at risk during the winter. Cold temperatures can be very dangerous to older people’s health as they not only increase the likelihood and severity of flu, chest infections and other respiratory problems, but they also raise blood pressure which puts people at greater risk of heart attacks and strokes.
There are a number of reasons for cold related illness and mortality from poorly insulated homes to sustained low indoor temperatures. Living room temperatures should ideally be kept at 70F (21°C) and above whereas bedroom temperatures should be kept at a minimum of 64F (18°C).
Being cold, even for just a short amount of time can be very dangerous as it increases the risk of associated health problems and preventable deaths during the winter.
The dedicated helpline can offer you help with emergencies such as providing temporary heaters, electric blankets, grants, finding a trades person or can offer general advice on finding your cheapest energy supplier, benefits and debt.
Take control of your energy usage with a smart meter
Having a Smart Meter can save you money and help you to be in more control of your energy usage.
We’re all entitled to a smart meter and your energy supplier will contact you between now and 2020 to arrange your installation at no extra cost.
Some of us will have to wait longer than others to get our meter, but you can ask your energy supplier directly to see if you can have yours fitted now. How soon you can get your meter depends on your energy supplier, where you live and what kind of home you live in.
There are three straightforward steps to getting a smart meter installed:
- Ask your supplier - we'll all be offered a smart meter by 2020. Contact yours directly to see if you can get a smart meter fitted now.
- You fix a time and day for your supplier to come and install your smart meter (either you, or if you can't be there yourself, a nominated, responsible adult will need to be present during installation).
- Your supplier fits the meter and shows you how to use the in-home display.
How can a Smart Meter save you money?
Smart meters make it easier for us to identify the situations where we're using a lot of energy and might want to make changes to reduce it.
If you use the information shown on your in-home display to help reduce your energy use, you should be able to cut your energy costs. Smart meters also mean accurate bills, so you can be confident that you're only paying for what you've actually used, rather than overpaying, as you sometimes do with estimates.
Do you qualify for free central heating?
A new project lead by Solihull Council is offering some residents free gas central heating.
The project will focus on the installation of first time gas central heating to homes where gas is not the primary heating source. Where electricity is used for heating it will be replaced with gas condensing boilers with the aim of improving energy efficiency and reducing the running costs for residents.
The project will support up to 125 owner-occupied households from fuel poor areas or those on low incomes. The aim is to help improve the health of local people which could be made worse by living in a cold home.
If you don’t currently have gas central heating and think you might be eligible for this scheme then please either:
- email Act on Energy at firstname.lastname@example.org or
- call the Freephone number 0800 988 2881
For further information about this project, see the leaflet below
If you find yourself requiring assistance this winter telephone the helpline:
Winter Warmth Helpline: 0121 704 8080
You can also request a free temperature/information card, packed full of information and tips, to monitor your indoor warmth.
Tips for keeping warm this winter
- Keep internal doors closed to stop draughts
- Have at least one hot meal a day
- Have hot drinks throughout the day
- Layer up - many layers of clothing are best
- Use an electric blanket or heat pad
- Close curtains at dusk
- Ensure your heating is 21°C degrees centigrade in your home
- Keep your heating on overnight and close windows
- Contact your energy supplier to find out about Social Tariffs or Priority Register Schemes
- Ensure your home is well insulated and boiler serviced
Staying safe and well during the dark nights
The nights are getting longer, colder and darker and although crime in the borough remains low, it can spike at this time of year.
To combat this, the Safer Solihull Partnership – which includes the council, police, fire service, health, Age UK Solihull and other organisations – is working hard to keep residents safe and well.