As the winter weather continues to bite, Dudley Council’s winter warmth scheme is offering help to residents to keep them warm and well in their homes.

The severe weather causes problems for us all but especially for older and vulnerable people. The cold weather we are experiencing can lead to a stay in hospital or claim the life of someone with heart or breathing problems.

As the weather continues to worsen the council, health services and local charities are working hard to ensure that people at most risk get the advice and support they need to stay safe and warm in their homes.

The winter warmth scheme aims to keep people who may be struggling to keep warm at home, cosy and snug, through the range of assistance available. The scheme provides a variety of practical hand-on support, information and expert advice.

Anyone concerned about keeping their home warm, struggling with paying their fuel bills or worried about keeping well at home during the winter can ask for help from the scheme.

The scheme will also arrange for local volunteers to make regular ‘befriending’ checks on people who may be at risk of becoming isolated during cold weather. They can help out with shopping trips, collecting prescriptions, dog walking or helping with transport, if needed.

Councillor Steve Waltho, cabinet member for adult social care, said:

“Every year we have people who are ill or lose their lives because of the cold weather. This worsens when the weather is as bad as we are experiencing now and simply spending a couple of minutes checking older neighbours and family members are keeping warm in their homes, eating hot meals and have a supply of their medication is vital”.

Councillor Zafar Islam, cabinet member for public health, said:

“People can also refer residents to our winter warmth scheme for help if they are concerned that they are not keeping warm at home, or are becoming isolated during the poor weather.”

Last year’s winter warmth support scheme helped almost 250 households to keep warm. Portable heaters, blankets and hot water bottles were provided thorough crisis funding, people were assisted with their energy debts, and helped to switch to the best energy supplier and tariff for their circumstances. Residents were also helped with applications to the warm homes discount (which helps people with their winter fuel bills) and to energy trust funds.

The winter warmth support helpline is 01384 817086.