For the fourth year organisations across Cornwall have joined forces to run ‘Winter Wellbeing’, a campaign aiming to reduce preventable winter deaths and help those at risk of ill-health and fuel poverty.
Over the last three years, the campaign has helped 6,200 people, with a claimed saving of 530 hospital admissions, and organisers are encouraging anyone who struggles in the winter months, to get in touch and see if we can help.
Winter Wellbeing provides information, advice and practical help for people at risk of the effects from cold and damp housing. This includes a helpline providing advice and referrals to agencies that can help households with practical measures, access to grants and information about ways people can help themselves.
The service can be accessed through a freephone number, 0800 954 1956, operated by Community Energy Plus. The local charity and social enterprise will be providing advice about staying warm and combating damp and mould, as well as assisting vulnerable householders with applications for insulation and heating schemes.
Targeted support will also be aimed at those most at risk, identified through referrals from sources such as GPs, clinical teams, volunteers, carers, job centres, social services, pharmacies and our partners.
The campaign also produces a Winter Wellbeing Guide, full of practical advice and tips on how to make homes warmer and healthier. It is available at locations across the county including from One Stop Shops, libraries, hospitals, job centres, food banks and health centres. The guide is also available online.
Stuart Bourne, acting director of Public Health for Cornwall Council and Council of the Isles of Scilly, said: ‘Every year we estimate there are around 300 preventable deaths related to the cold weather. 11 per cent of households locally live in fuel poverty and cannot afford to keep warm and well, slightly above the national average of 10 per cent.
"Through Winter Wellbeing, we have been able to offer emergency support, but also help people make lasting changes that will improve their health for years to come with the joined up partnership approach of ‘reducing fuel poverty, improving health and progress to work."
Funding comes from several partners. It is led by Public Health Cornwall Council, with support from Crisis and Care (Cornwall Council), Council of the Isles of Scilly, Inclusion Cornwall, NHS Kernow, Community Energy Plus, Cornwall Community Foundation, Cornwall Rural Community Council and Age UK.
For more information about the Winter Wellbeing programme visit www.cornwall.gov.uk/winterwellbeing