Help for those at risk from cold

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AT least 20 households are to benefit from improved heating as a result of extra funds gained by Fenland District Council.

The council has secured an additional £24,000 from the Department of Health to help prevent vulnerable people from becoming unwell or having to be admitted to hospital suffering from the cold.

Older people or children living in cold or damp homes are at particularly high risk of developing breathing problems or even hypothermia.

FDC is now working with the Ormiston Trust to identify residents who could be at risk. It is also accepting referrals from the Care and Repair service, Age UK and the Care Network.

The extra money means that up to £1,000 per household is available to be spent on measures such as repairing boilers or gas fires or installing oil heaters or radiators in unheated living areas.

To qualify for a grant a household must include a person over 60 or under 16 or someone with a disability or chronic illness. Residents must also be in receipt of a low  income-related benefit such as pension credit or have a household income of less than £27,000.

FDC also has a stock of free equipment to give out, including room thermometers, blankets, carbon monoxide testers and flasks. The new funding has been secured following the success of the council’s project to provide free information packs at flu clinics around the district in October.

Councillor Ralph Butcher, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for health and wellbeing, said: “For some people the cold poses significant health risks and even comparatively minor improvements to the heating in their homes can make a big difference in keeping them safe. So we’re particularly pleased to have succeeded in getting this extra money to help them.”

Anyone who thinks they may qualify for a grant should contact Isabel Edgington at FDC on 01354-654321.