Residents to check on vulnerable neighbours as cold snap bites

Southwark Council is echoing calls on residents to think about vulnerable people in their communities this winter as the weather becomes colder.

Catherine McDonald, cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “Snow, ice and lowering temperatures can have a real impact on older or vulnerable residents, either because they are afraid to turn up their heating because of soaring bills or because it makes it harder for them to get out and about.

“It may only take a couple of hours to call in on a family member, friend or neighbour and check that they are well and warm.”

Southwark Council works with or funds a wide range of services that are there to support older residents.

Age UK and Southwark Council have set up a winter helpline to make sure vulnerable residents keep warm and well.

The council has been awarded funding from the Department of Health to run a ‘Keep Well and Warm in Southwark 2012/13’ campaign that will predominantly target older people, plus families with disabled children through the Contact a Family charity.

Trained volunteers from Age UK and other voluntary sector partners will visit people in their homes and complete assessments to see where more can be done to keep them warmer and safer, from arranging to install insulation and maximising fuel efficiency to clearing ice of steps and pathways.

In addition this year the volunteers will be trained to spot if an older person is feeling lonely and help them access support services such as the befriending service.

If you would like to arrange an assessment – or are worried about an elderly family member, friend or neighbour – call Age UK on 0207 358 4077.

Southwark Council also works with the Consortium of Older Peoples Services in Southwark, which provide a range of services throughout the year from home visits to community group activities.

A full list of community support services and contact numbers is available on the council’s website at

Jacky Bourke-White, chief executive of Age UK (Lewisham and Southwark) said: “Last year there were around 25,000 excess winter deaths across the country and most of these were preventable. Anything we can do to stop this happening and reduce the level of mortality is great and we are very, very pleased to be working with the council to reach older people this winter and get them the help they need.”

Story taken from southwark Council