WITH forecasters predicting a cold snap in the weather over the coming weeks, a joint project being run by Devon County Council and NHS Devon is offering support to vulnerable people who might be affected by the colder weather.

The Staying Warm and Well service, set to run until the end of March, provides support to vulnerable Devon residents living in a cold home, who need extra support over the winter or who have a heating emergency.

The service is provided by a group of three trusted providers who can provide food and medicine supplies in bad weather, make welfare calls and alerts, maintain social contacts and help combat loneliness and help with transport, or provide room thermometers.

Staff can direct people to support from Citizens’ Advice Bureaux, who can offer advice on paying fuel bills and fuel debt advice and help with switching fuel supplier and completing applications for fuel grants, alongside a range of other financial support.

The Staying Warm and Well Service can help with: • Emergency help with boiler breakdowns and burst pipes • Providing heaters and dehumidifiers • Advice on how a home can be more energy efficient • Applying for insulation, boiler replacement and housing grants • Loft clearance before insulation is installed • A warm homes pack, containing blanket, socks etc • Installing a room temperature alerter for people at risk • Installing smoke alarms, CO detectors and handrails to help prevent accidents Anyone who needs help can contact the Staying Warm and Well Service on Freephone 0808 162 5282 or complete the online referral form at www.dacvs.org.uk, which will develop a winter action plan for them and arrange the support they need. Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s lead member for health and wellbeing, said: “It’s often easy to forget that this is a particularly difficult time of year for some people in our communities, and we all need to be aware of vulnerable family, friends or neighbours who are living in a cold or damp home, particularly older people who live alone and feel isolated, or people who have an existing health condition.

“However, the winter weather can affect anybody, who might have a winter warmth emergency such as their boiler breaks down or pipes burst or if their home floods. They might also be struggling to keep warm because their home is poorly insulated or their fuel costs are too high.

“The Staying Warm and Well Service aims to help people in these situations, by providing the advice, support and equipment needed to get people through a severe weather period."