With winter looming we’ve launched Spread the Warmth, a campaign to make sure older people are warm, safe and comfortable over the coming months, and that severe weather doesn’t lead to them being cut off from the community.
It’s beautiful outside. The ground is coated in glittering frost, or maybe a crisp layer of snow. But you’re not appreciating it. Instead you are worrying about whether you can afford to heat your home in sub-zero temperatures, wondering whether it’s wise to risk a walk to the shops over un-treated ice, thinking that if you don’t the day might pass without you seeing a soul.
Of course this isn’t the experience of every older person, but these concerns are all too common. Rising energy bills are eating into a greater proportion older people’s incomes; often fixed and often too low. And should the severe weather of 2010 be repeated, many older people face virtual house arrest unless Councils across Scotland are fully prepared. Spread the Warmth is taking action on both these issues.
Our Hot Tips Calendar 2013, free to older people, offers information and advice to help you keep warm, safe and comfortable all year round. Starting this week we’ll be blogging Calendar tips and Spread the Warmth themed articles to see you through the winter. We’ve also joined up with Energy Bill Revolution, a campaign to get the UK Government to use the money it receives from carbon taxes to help make homes super-energy efficient – with excellent insulation, renewable energy and modern boilers.
Having looked at Councils’ plans for looking after older people in severe winter weather, we think that some of them could do better. We would like to invite you to join Winter Weather Watch and keep an eye on how well your Council does over winter 2012/13. Taking part is easy – simply keep a note of their performance and in spring 2013 we’ll ask you to complete a short survey about your experiences. Help us spread the word! The more watchers there are, the easier it is to make the case for action if Councils fall short..
Spread the Warmth is only part of what Age Scotland is doing this winter. Our Helpline will be taking around 1000 calls a months, and assisting older people with heating and weather worries amongst many other concerns. Across Scotland’s communities our Development Officers will be supporting older people’s groups and services to thrive. None of this work just happens – it relies on public support. So if you can spare some winter warmers to help stock our Charity shops, or are able to make a donation, we can guarantee that your generosity will be put to good use.