Keeping out freeze

The scheme will support elderly and vulnerable people when the temperature plunges.

The scheme will support elderly and vulnerable people when the temperature plunges.

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A scheme to help the elderly and vulnerable cope with plunging temperatures has been launched in Blackpool.

The resort’s Community Cold Weather Plan will use a £120,000 Government grant to help residents get through the winter months.

More than a quarter of homes in Blackpool suffer from fuel poverty, meaning homeowners struggle to keep warm during the coldest months.

Coun Kath Rowson, Blackpool Council’s executive member for adult social care, told The Gazette: “This will help to ensure the elderly and the vulnerable will receive support when the temperature plunges.

“It’s a short term scheme, but we hope by working together it can make a real difference to people’s lives and health.”

The initiative will see help provided across a number of agencies including the voluntary sector ranging from clearing snow from footpaths to repairing boilers and even installing central heating.

Partners include NHS Blackpool, Age Concern, Neighbourhood Action, the Carers’ Centre, British Red Cross, and the Senior Voice Forum.

Organisations including charities, tenants’ associations and schools will also be called upon to help out with tasks such as gritting paths and delivering information to vulnerable households about what’s on offer.

A total of 2,000 advice packs will be distributed, a hotline will be set up to provide contact with support groups and advice will be given on benefit entitlements.

Free draught proofing will also be provided where appropriate and stalls will be set up in health centres to make direct contact with people suffering from cold related illnesses.

The target group includes the over 75s, the frail or those with pre-existing chronic medical conditions, people living in deprived circumstances, young children and elderly people living alone.

Also eligible for help are homeless people, those with severe mental illness, dementia sufferers and people with learning difficulties, those living in homes with mould, and people with limited mobility or arthritis and at risk of falls.