Winter Warmer project aims to help the elderly face the cold

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The Bucks branch of Age UK has started the third year of its Winter Warmer project, intended to help elderly people with heating throughout the colder months.

With temperatures dropping and the rise in heating costs creating a storm of its own, this year’s campaign promises to be the biggest yet.

Helen Wain, the community services manager for Age UK in Bucks, believes that the project plays a vital role in supporting elderly people and helping them through a difficult time of year.

She said: “We are hearing a lot of concerns from older people, many of them are extrememly worried about putting the heating on now.

“All this talk of price rises makes elderly people scared to turn on the heat.

“Coming up to this time of year, the long evenings can seem pretty bleak if you’re just trying to stay warm.”

The campaign includes the Big Heat initiative, which looks to distribute small, one-off grants from Bucks Community Foundation to elderly people who are struggling to pay their bills.

And alongside this financial help Age UK is able to provide advice and information to those concerned by the onset of winter about how best to stay warm in the home.

Ms Wain said: “We offer lots of advice here. We tell our callers to make sure they drink hot drinks, use a blanket and hot water bottle, and close the curtains earlier to keep the heat in.”

The charity also compiles a list of the most vulnerable and isolated elderly people in the area, who can then receive food parcels and visits from local volunteers.

With more calls coming each year, Ms Wain is pleased that the project is reaching more and more people. But the advice is still not heard by everybody and AGE UK is taking steps to make sure that its message is spread as widely as possible.

Ms Wain said: “It’s the people we don’t hear from that we’re especially concerned about.

“This generation was brought up to just get on with it, so they often try to just struggle through.

“We’re looking at new ways to get our message out, such as libraries, parish councils, lunch clubs and social media.”

To contact AGE UK in Bucks for advice or to enquire about volunteering call 01296 431911.