Reading Borough Council (RBC) have launched their annual Winter Watch scheme to provide support and information over the colder months. The scheme is designed to help elderly or disabled people and low-income families with emergency heating, bedding and energy payments as well as offering damp-proofing and home energy checks.
“More people die in winter than the rest of the year due to the effects of the cold,” said RBC lead member for health Councillor Graeme Hoskin. “Older people are at particular risk of health problems, as are children and people with disabilities or long term illnesses.”
“If anyone feels they are struggling to keep warm or know any neighbours who they think may need help, then please contact the Council to find out more about how the Winter Watch scheme can help.”
The council says that 10% of Reading homes have at least one member affected by a long term illness or disability. They estimate that 6,695 households in Reading (11%) are ‘fuel poor’ and struggle to pay for heating their homes.
The NHS stay well this winter campaign offers steps that might fend off common winter illnesses:
- keep yourself warm and, if you can, heat your home to at least 18C (65F),
- speak to a pharmacist as soon as you start to feel unwell, even if it is just a cold or cough,
- ensure you have medicine in the home to deal with common ailments like coughs, colds and upset stomachs.
A free flu vaccine is available from many GP surgeries in the area for people with long-term medical conditions, older people, pregnant women and carers of the elderly and disabled.
You can find more about Winter Watch by phoning 0118 937 3747 or visiting their website. You can also contact the NHS for out-of-hours advice on its non-emergency number 111.