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CCGs fund blankets and fuel bills in cold weather

Three CCGs have invested £150,000 to help vulnerable people stay warm and well this winter.

The three CCGs in West Yorkshire - Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, Bradford City and Bradford Districts - have supplied the funds to help to pay for fuel bills, warm clothing, bedding or a food parcel as well as advice on debt and how to access support.

The money will support work by the Warm Homes Health Partnership and the First Contact signposting scheme as well as practical support run by Inn Churches, fuel poverty advice delivered by Bradford Citizens’ Advice Bureau. They will also support a handyperson scheme and the employment of a graduate trainee to help co-oordinate all the work.

Dr Yasmin Khan, Bradford Districts CCG’s GP lead for urgent and intermediate care and a GP in the city, said: ‘Harsh weather conditions can have a dramatic impact on everyday life, particularly for those who are most vulnerable - including the elderly and those with a long-term condition or disability.

’First Contact is a really useful scheme which signposts people to a range of practical help and support to vulnerable people who need it most. Simple things such as new duvets for children, or a food parcel for someone who’s in crisis and can’t afford shopping can make a big difference to helping people stay warm and well during the winter months.’

 Dr Agnelo Fernandes, the RCGP´s national urgent  and emergency care lead and Croydon CCG´s assistant clinical chair urged CCGs to be proactive with their plans for coping with winter pressures this year: ‘Release of additional DH winter pressures monies in January with only days to submit applications and an instruction to do what was done the previous year epitomises a waste of public money.

’CCGs should be much better prepared to take advantage of any additional resources – and if they are released in a timely way a better impact will be seen – after all winter comes every year!’

The Warm Homes Health Partnership aims to help vulnerable people keep warm or to be warmer by:

• providing cold weather information and advice

• providing practical support

• getting neighbours to help each other

First Contact signposts people to information, advice and services to help them stay safe, healthy and independent throughout winter, and also puts them in touch with organisations which can provide practical help using a simple checklist to highlight people’s needs and signpost them to the right support.