Staying warm this winter: Local help and advice

Our community reporter Pauline has put together this guide full of information, help and advice for staying warm during these last few winter months ahead. 

The energy crisis is here and the cost of heating our homes will almost certainly rise by at least 50% in April. What can older people do, so that we are not faced the choice of “eat or heat”? Many of us live alone.

There are several organisations in Greater Manchester you can ask for advice and help. I attended a meeting of the Bury Older Peoples Network recently and several speakers gave excellent advice and tips.

Bury Council – public health team
The UK suffers most in Western Europe from excess winter deaths, due to poor quality housing stock with inadequate insulation.

Key effects of this include:
• respiratory problems
• strokes
• hypertension (or high blood pressure)
• hypothermia (if your heating is below 18C you get cold very quickly)
• carbon monoxide poisoning (from using old paraffin heaters)

Certain groups are more effected:
• 65+
• frail people
• people with pre-existing health conditions
• poorer people

What can be done – “winter well check list”?
• Get flu and covid vaccinations
• keep homes warm
• ensure you are on correct medications and have enough “meds” to last if you cannot go out
• eat well and drink enough
• proper insulation in your home

Energy efficiency and affordable warmth – see Bury Council website

Citizens Advice:
They can give you a whole range of advice and one on one tips. These include
• Energy saving tips
• warm home discount
• being on a priority list

Check the website for tips and how to contact your local office across Greater Manchester.

LEAP (covers Greater Manchester) – Local Energy Advice Partnership
Leap is a free service that helps people keep warm and reduce their energy bills, and is nationwide.

With bills expected to increase by around 50% in April, or about £600 for the average household any savings are welcome.

LEAP’s website sets out the yardsticks for qualification for help, and below are some of the areas where they can help
• replacing a boiler
• connecting for warmth – replacing storage heaters with radiators
• radiator foils, energy saving bulbs, door and letter box brushes to stop draughts
• E-ON grant for cavity wall insulation and other insulation.

Contact them on: [email protected] or 01525853300

Age UK
They offer all kinds of support, aimed to help older people

These include
keeping well this winter
• keep your spirits up
• manage your money
• looking after each other
• getting your flu jab
• when the weather is at its worst

Also most local Age UKs (most of the ten boroughs have one) offer home energy checks and handy person services for little jobs in the home, like electrical or plumbing jobs.

And of course Silverline is there 24/7 to offer support for older people over the phone. Free telephone – 0800 4 70 80 90

Finally there are many links in the Greater Manchester 2020 advice on “keeping well this winter”, which is still very relevant now, and has downloadable booklets (in several languages) and the TAMG video.

Check out Pauline’s handy tips for saving energy in your home.

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