Winter advice, tips and financial help
How to keep warm in winter
One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during the winter is to stay warm. Cold weather may lead to serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression. The chances of these problems are higher if you're vulnerable to cold-related illnesses because of one or more of the following:
- you're over 60
- you'reon a low income (so can't afford heating)
- you have a long-term health condition such as heart, lung or kidney disease
- you are disabled
Every winter in the UK, 25,000-30,000 deaths are linked to the cold weather. Currently, approximately four million households in the UK are in fuel poverty. This is when a household spends more than 10% of its income to keep warm.
The Government has also produced leaflets give advice on staying well in cold weather, covering issues such as financial help, healthy lifestyle, flu jabs and heating [external website].
Tips to keep warm
The government's advice on staying warm over the winter aims to reduce cold-related illness and deaths.
Key tips include:
- Keep your home warm. Your main living room should be between around 18-21C (64-70F) and the rest of the house at a minimum of 16C (61F). You can also use a hot-water bottle or electric blanket (but not both at the same time) to keep warm while you're in bed.
- Wrap up warm, inside and out. Several thin layers of clothes are better than one thick layer. Don't forget to wear hats, gloves and scarves. If possible, stay inside during a cold period if you have heart or respiratory problems.
- Keep active. Move around at least once an hour and don't sit down for long periods of time. Even light exercise will help keep you warm.
- Look out for elderly friends and neighbours. Check they're safe and well through the winter. Make sure they're warm enough, especially at night, and have stocks of food and medicines so they don't need to go out during very cold weather. If you are worried about a relative or an elderly neighbour, contact Bromley council or ring the AgeUK helpline on 0800 00 99 66.
See the government's Cold Weather plan for England [external website] which gives advice on preparation for the effects of winter weather on people's health.
The British Red Cross have produced a leaflet for severe weather conditions - Are you ready? [external website].
Free heating and insulation improvements for owners or tenants in fuel poverty.
Fuel poverty is anyone who has to spend more than 10% of their income on fuel for heating, lighting and cooking. However unless you you know your household income and how much you spend annually on fuel, this can be tricky, but people on means tested benefits or those on an income of less than £16,190 and with a vulnerable person in the home (children under 16, disabled, or over 60) are likely to be in fuel poverty.
There is an urgent system for any eligible vulnerable clients with no heating, and temporary heating can be provided in such cases.
Benefits and financial support
You may also be able to claim financial and practical help with heating your home.
Grants available include the Winter fuel payments and Cold weather payments.
- Winter Fuel Payments of between £100 and £300 are available if you were born on or before 5 July 1952. To find out more about Winter Fuel Payments visit www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment.
- Cold Weather Payments may be available to you if you receive certain benefits or have a child who is disabled or under the age of five. To find out more about Cold Weather Payments contact Jobcentre Plus - you can find the nearest office by visiting GOV.UK.
Watch the video to get tips about keeping warm: