Thirty-five people exchanged their old electric blankets for free new ones at a special Golden Age event in Wisbech this week (Wednesday, January 22).
People were queueing at the Oasis Centre well before the start of the event and by the end more than 80 people had come along.
As well as getting new blankets, they were given advice and practical help on fire safety and ways to save energy in the home. Eleven people had mini health checks and two individuals were helped to identify benefits totalling more than £2,000 to which they were entitled.
The morning event was organised by Fenland District Council, Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue and Age UK Cambridgeshire.
Now abandoned pets are set to benefit, too. The council has arranged for the replaced blankets, minus their electric leads, to be donated to Wood Green Animal Shelter.
Councillor Steve Garratt, Fenland District Council’s cabinet member responsible for Golden Age, said: “It has been a fantastic success all round. The blanket exchange has been a big draw but everyone who has come has had a good time and got all sorts of other help as well. Being able to help the animal shelter is a nice bonus.”
Graham Clare, one of Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue’s volunteer community champions, said: “Electric blankets are like old friends that people don’t like parting with but we know that many are unsafe, so today has been really worthwhile.
“On top of the blankets, we’re arranging for six people to have smoke alarms fitted, we’ve given out lots of fire safety leaflets and explained the importance of checking fire alarms every week. It’s all about keeping people out of danger, so it’s been a really good day.”
Dawn Long, from Age UK Cambridgeshire, said they had also been able to tell a lot of people about their services and eight people had asked for free home visits to assess their energy use.
She highlighted their special information line, 0300 666 9860, saying: “What we say to people is if you’re over 60 and you need to talk to someone, call us.”
The Golden Age team turned out in force to host the event. Councillor Garratt was joined by fellow FDC councillors Will Sutton, Bernard Keane and Trevor Quince.
Former councillor Cyril Bellamy, another team member, also attended with his wife, as did Councillor Mike Cornwell, the Cabinet member responsible for health and wellbeing.
Fenland Council and Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue each provided £1,000 to pay for the new electric blankets, with an extra £500 coming from the Fenland Youth District Council.