Winter Wellbeing

Keep well this winter 

This year's Winter Wellbeing campaign started on 1 November 2016.

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Are you in poor health or at risk of ill health, or with underlying health issues, or caring for a vulnerable person and / or worried about your home being cold or damp?

Is it affecting your health? If so, then Winter Wellbeing can help.

For advice and access to services provided by the programme’s 30 partner organisations, call Freephone 0800 954 1956.

The Winter Wellbeing programme offers access to a range of services to help you stay warm and well this winter, including:

  • Independent energy advice tailored to your individual needs, including home visits and follow-up support
  • Access to heating and insulation grants
  • Providing practical advice on understanding and reducing your energy bills and combatting condensation and damp
  • Support for families with children if they have additional needs
  • Confidential advice on parenting
  • Debt advice
  • Benefits advice
  • Health information

Our Winter Wellbeing Guides and Top Tips for Staying Warm and Well This Winter are packed with useful advice and information about staying warm, keeping well and being happy and safe this winter.

Paper copies are available from Council One Stop Shops, NHS premises, libraries and many other sources, including all the partners listed below. 

Please see the Winter Wellness Process that outlines how we work. 

You can contact the Community Energy Plus helpline on Freephone 0800 954 1956, or email them at advice@cep.org.uk for further information and advice.

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are in the top ten areas for the UK who are in fuel poverty. 

Since September 2015 the Winter Wellbeing partners have provided central heating to over 300 homes across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Being warm at home has many benefits for your health and wellbeing, and keeping your home from being damp and cold can have make a real difference.

For more information please call 01872 323583 or visit our Central Heating Fund pages.

This is the sixth year of running Winter Wellness and Inclusion Cornwall is a lead partner.

Winter Wellness is funded by Public Health, Inclusion Cornwall, Council of the Isles of Scilly, NHS Kernow and Cornwall Community Foundation (CCF).  Over 30 partners worked together to deliver common outcomes of reducing fuel poverty, improving health and progress to work. 

In Cornwall fuel poverty affects 14% of all households and in Isles of Scilly it is 22% (DECC Fuel Poverty statistics), both above England average of 10%

Download Key highlights from the 2015/16 Winter Wellness campaign.

Since 2011/12, Winter Wellness has helped the following stay warm, well and safe during Winter :

  • 6,000 households (13,000 people - *based on average household size of 2.27 per home);
  • 755 hospital admissions prevented;
  • 1,200 households helped by Winter Wellness Emergency Fund – electric, gas, heating oil and logs/coal to stay warm;
  • 311 households remain in work and progress towards work.
  • 238 households receive £84,000 of extra income through Discretionary Housing Payments, Crisis and Care Awards and/or help with Council Tax, since 2015.  

Last Winter, Winter Wellness helped 1,600 households.  Key highlights include:

  • 1,560 called the Freephone (run by Community Energy Plus) for help;
  • 510 referred to other partners for assistance;
  • 250 received energy advice (to use their heating systems better);
  • 317 households assisted by Winter Wellness Emergency Fund;
  • 1,000 households helped by Cornwall Rural Community Charity, Community Energy Plus and Age UK Cornwall and Isles of Scilly with advice, benefits and information
  • 18 helped by Plymouth Energy Community and 6 by Shelter (British Gas Energy Trust) with energy debts.

Wider health benefits included:

  • NHS saved £71,000 based on 80 hospital admissions prevented (£1 Winter Wellness saved NHS £2);
  • Cornwall Community Foundation granted £5,000, that led to £24,000 of Winter Wellness and Cornwall Council Discretionary funds* (£1 CCF generated £5,33 of extra income for vulnerable householders to stay warm and well);
  • Winter Wellness, helped 117 (37% of Emergency Fund) customers to receive * Crisis and Care, Council Tax help and Discretionary Housing Payments helping to improve their health and wellbeing – more income and reduce their money worries. 
  • Secured £2.3m Central Heating Fund, to install central heating for the first time in 375 homes in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.  142 homes now have new central heating (* as at 31 July 2016), with the remainder planned for completion by 31 November 2016.

Dr Caroline Court, Interim Director of Cornwall Council’s Public Health team said; “It’s Fantastic to see first-hand that residents are benefitting from being able to stay warm and well, which is improving their health and wellbeing.   

“One of the residents is so happy that she no longer has to worry about putting £10 on the key meter. Instead of going to the local shop to do this in the wind and rain with her child she can now just turn on the heating and its warm.”  

The following services can assist with energy debts

Fuel Shelter - Shelter (Bristol), backed by British Gas Energy Trust and households in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly are eligible.

Please email the service: Fuel_Bristol@shelter.org.uk or call Public Health (01872) 327977

The principle aim is to help those in fuel poverty, regardless of utility supplier or reason for being in this position.  

Shelter will:

  • work with customers to immediately address issues with benefits;
  • apply for Debt Relief Orders, help with Bankruptcy and advice on other debt options;
  • agree re-payment plans with Creditors, both priority and non-priority debts;
  • agree re-payment plans with Landlords;
  • offer Energy Efficiency Advice;
  • submit grant applications for household goods, further assistance payment and utility arrears;
  • enforce Landlord disrepair responsibilities
To contact Shelter please have your name, address, contact details, date of birth and national insurance number and a brief outlines of the issue requiring help with.    

Plymouth Energy Community (covers Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, funded by Energy Trust Grants

The Fuel Debt Service was set up in June 2014 and have helped to clear over £200,000 (*August 2016) of energy (gas and electric) arrears in two years.

Please visit the Plymouth energy community website.  If you would like to use the service please call 01752 477177.

“Yes, customer A has been awarded both DHP and Exceptional Relief.  Along with your support for fuel, this has made a massive difference to him and he is over the moon. There was huge pressure on him financially and he was struggling to keep his head above water but he now feels that he is able to cope….”

Cold weather and homes are responsible for around 350 seasonal winter deaths a year in Cornwall.  Fuel poverty runs at around 20% of households locally, meaning that 100,000 people are at risk here.  Winter and cold weather nationally costs the NHS about £1.1bn.  Campaigns like Winter Wellness are instrumental in preventing real hardship and even death.

Choose Well Campaign

The Choose Well Campaign has been launched to help people get the right care, in the right place, at the right time. The campaign is designed to signpost you to the relevant healthcare services for your needs and to help keep the Emergency Department free, for those who really need them. To find out more, go to the Choose Well page on NHS Kernow's website, with tips, advice and easy read information on what to do if you fall ill.

Care and Support in Cornwall

The Cornwall Care and Support Directory gives information and lists details of providers of support at home, leisure activities, getting around, health and wellbeing, work, learning and volunteering, advice, information and money matters, staying safe, caring for someone and housing and care homes. It also includes a 'What's On' section which lists events, activities and courses happening in your area.

If you would like to find out what local help or support is available to you, go to the Cornwall Care and Support Directory and get searching!

Cold Weather Plan

The Cold Weather Plan gives advice on preparation for the effects of winter weather on people's health. This is produced by Public Health England - look at the Cold Weather Plan for England to find out more.

"Fuel poverty is a long standing health issue: the impact of cold housing on health and the stresses brought on by living in fuel poverty have been recognised for decades by researchers, medical professionals and policy makers alike. At the same time, it is an issue that often gets dismissed as the 'tough nature of things' because our housing stock is old and cold housing is so widespread that many have come to regard it as a normal state of affairs. It should not be so. Cold housing and fuel poverty can be successfully tackled through policies and interventions if there is a will to do so. There is a social gradient in fuel poverty: the lower your income the more likely you are to be at risk of fuel poverty.

Inequalities that are avoidable are fundamentally unfair - fuel poverty is avoidable and it contributes to social and health inequalities". University of Central London (UCL) 2011.