Get ready for winter

Published: Wednesday 25th November 15

As winter starts to tighten its grip, the council is preparing for cold weather, and has issued advice to local people on how to keep warm.

This year the council will be targeting key areas of the borough where the numbers of winter deaths are higher, to make sure local people know about the services available.

Wandsworth will be working with WHARF (Wandsworth Housing Adaptations and Repairs Forum) to support vulnerable people this winter.  WHARF has information on keeping residents and their home warm and on getting help with benefits, heating costs and insulation.  Call (020) 3198 9845 or email info@wandsworthwharf.org.uk.

The council is also working with Age UK Wandsworth to provide a dedicated winter warmth Handyperson to carry out simple energy efficiency measures to people’s homes.

And it has teamed up with the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability which can give rapid support for vulnerable people who are cold, including radiators, heaters, blankets, duvets, warm food as well as social activities for those who are isolated.

Already this winter the charity has come to the aid of residents of a sheltered housing development in Balham after a boiler broke. Elderly residents received 61 Winter Warmer packs including good quality scarves, hats, gloves and some food.  Leonard Cheshire has also handed out cold weather packs to other vulnerable people in the community.

Randall Close Day Centre Manager William J Gallagher said: “We want to reach out to not just the people who use our services but as many people in the community as we can to let them know we are here to help and can offer free warming packs to those who need them. We are working with Wandsworth Council to save lives.

“We were delighted to get into action to deliver our lifesaving packs to those affected by heating problems in the first freezing weather this winter. This initiative is supported by the Wimbledon Foundation.”

Contact the charity directly on (020) 7223 0350 or refer via WHARF.  

The council’s public health team is encouraging people to get a flu jab. Flu is not the same as the common cold. It is often more severe, lasts for longer and can result in having to going to hospital. People over the age of 65, even if they are fit and healthy, and those with medical conditions are more vulnerable to the effects of flu. Find out more about the flu jab at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/flu.

Other council services are busy preparing for cold snaps. An emergency gritting operation is ready to swing into operation when roads and pavements become snowy or icy, but residents can also grit pavements themselves. Tonnes of grit and rock salt have been handed out to Wandsworth residents and there is a network of grit bins across the borough. Find out more at wandsworth.gov.uk/snow.

Read details on how Wandsworth is preparing for cold weather in this year's Winter Service Plan.

Wandsworth is supporting the NHS Stay Well This Winter campaign which urges people aged over 65 and those with long-term conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or respiratory illness, to protect themselves against the cold weather.

NHS Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging you this winter to: 

  • Keep yourself warm - heat your home to least 18 degrees C or (65F) if you can
  • If you start to feel unwell, even if it’s just a cough or a cold, then get help from your pharmacist quickly before it gets more serious
  • Make sure you get your prescription medicines before pharmacies close on Christmas Eve.
  • Always take your prescribed medicines as directed
  • Get your free flu jab if you are eligible for one
  • Look out for other people who may need a bit of extra help over winter.

Dr Nicola Jones, a local GP and chair of NHS WandsworthCCG, said that there are a range of health problems associated with winter weather and cold housing.

“It is essential to keep yourself warm as the weather gets colder, and this is especially the case for the very young, older people or those with a long-term illness,” she said.

The council’s health and adult social care spokesman Cllr Jim Maddan said:

“Around 100 people die each year in Wandsworth because they are cold. We are working hard to bring this number down by targeting areas where numbers are higher to make sure people have the right information and advice.

“We have also worked to ensure our housing stock is well-maintained and energy efficient, and are working with the private housing sector to bring all borough homes up to scratch.”

In the case of extreme whether, the council will post service updates on its twitter feed.

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