Tackling the big freeze in Teesside

billingham big fgreeze

Age UK Teesside Energy Advice Pilot Project launched for Stockton and Middlesbrough.

Older people in Stockton and Middlesbrough are set to benefit from a new initiative aimed at reducing the risk from cold-related ill health.
The pilot project, by Age UK Teesside, will deliver free energy advice to over 65s to improve their quality of life, reduce fuel poverty, improve physical and mental well- being and help them continue to live independently in their own homes.

Age UK Community Energy Advisors Phil Smith and Katharine Lam will be organising six Winter Awareness events, working with partner organisations and aiming to complete hundreds of home assessments before the big winter chill arrives.

Phil said: “We are particularly targeting older people who are most vulnerable to the effects of cold weather, including over 65s at high risk of cardiovascular or respiratory conditions as well as arthritis, disabled people, those on low incomes or living in properties which are difficult to heat.

“Other risk factors are living alone, having a mental health condition, sudden changes in circumstances such as bereavement, having care responsibilities, literacy or numeracy difficulties and having a limited understanding of the energy market.”
Katharine added: “At the home visits, we will be particularly looking for people whose whole home is not warm in winter, have difficulty paying their energy bills or in heating their home.

“We will then move on to do a home energy assessment and health and well-being check, before giving advice on reducing fuel bills, advice on fuel debt, support to maximise income and information and advice on other support.”

The project is seeking referrals from individuals or organisations of older people needing support to heat their homes in the Middlesbrough and Stockton areas. Contact Katharine Lam or Phil Smith at Age UK Teesside on 01642 805500, 07756539210 or 07921697679.

Stay warm and healthy this winter We are all more likely to feel the chill in winter, but cold weather can lead to very serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes or pneumonia, and sometimes the cold weather can even kill – especially if you have a long-term health condition or are 65 or over. There are
a number of measures that you can take to help yourself stay warm and healthy this winter.

• Heat your living room to the ideal temperature of 70°F (21°C).
• Heat your bedroom to the ideal temperature of 64°F (18°C).
• Shut your bedroom windows at night as breathing in cold air can increase the risk of chest infections.
• Install a carbon monoxide alarm in each room that has a gas appliance.
• Fit a cold alarm in your house or put a thermometer in your living room and bedroom.
• Draw your curtains at dusk to help keep the heat generated inside your rooms.
• Make sure that your radiators are not obstructed by curtains or furniture.
• Set your heating to come on just before you get up and switch off after you’ve gone to bed.
• Heating your home safely is really important. Remember to get your heating system checked regularly, and keep your home well ventilated.
• Check if you are you eligible for the Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payment or other grants?

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