More support in cold weather thanks to cash bid

A number of new initiatives aimed at keeping people warm and safe this winter will be set up thanks to a successful bid for government cash.

Derbyshire County Council has welcomed the news that it is getting just over £94,000 from the Government’s `Warm Homes Healthy People’ fund to set up a variety of schemes with community and voluntary organisations across the county.

More than 30 organisations and voluntary groups joined the county council in the cash bid and some schemes will be up and running early in the new year.

One of the schemes will see the county council giving out free winter emergency packs containing items including a fleece blanket, a hat, instant soups, thermometers and handwarmers. These will be given to people who, for example, are older and whose central heating has broken down or is inadequate in very cold weather.

There will also be information leaflets which will be packed full of tips, help and advice to keep warm and safe during the winter months.

Other initiatives will see free ice and snow treads/grippers given out to volunteers who support vulnerable people during wintry weather so they can more easily get out and about.

They will help with anything from shopping and taking people to medical appointments to small domestic tasks such as bringing in coal for fires which can be difficult when there’s snow and ice on the ground.

We will also be funding the expansion of a co-operative domestic fuel oil buying scheme helping to bring down the cost of heating for those signing up, who live in mainly rural areas where gas is not available.

County council welfare benefits specialists will team up with the council’s adult care hospital social work teams for three months, ensuring people are receiving all the benefits they are entitled to before they go home.

These winter wellbeing initiatives are part of a drive to increase the number of services available to support older and vulnerable people across the county and reduce the number of instances of people struggling unnecessarily because of the cold.

Helping people keep warm and stay safe cuts down on the number of admissions to hospital or emergency residential care and supports people to continue to live independently at home.

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Care Councillor Charles Jones said: “We are delighted to get this extra money, which will fund some very worthwhile initiatives.

“It is a great opportunity for the county council to work together with a number of wonderful voluntary and community organisations, ensuring that support gets right to the heart of communities.

“Some of these initiatives could prove to be potential life-savers when the cold weather strikes.”