It suddenly feels like we’ve gone from an extended summer straight into a chilly November without any warning. With temperatures falling and us all trying to find where we stored our hats and scarves, we thought it would be a good time to help you with preparations for the colder weather – especially for those most vulnerable.
Free flu jabs
It’s really important to get yourself a flu jab. Flu is such an unpredictable virus, and is so contagious that even people without symptoms can spread it. A flu jab is the most safe and effective way to protect yourself and others. It’s routinely given on the NHS to:
- adults 65 and over
- people with certain medical conditions (including children in at-risk groups from 6 months of age)
- pregnant women
- children aged 2 and 3
- children in reception class and school years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Even if you’re not in any of the high risk groups above, it’s still worth paying the small amount (around £10) to get vaccinated and save yourself a week of being potentially bed bound.
More information about flu is available online at www.nhs.uk/conditions/flu
A free warm home check
You don’t have to sit at home wrapped in blankets to keep the cold away. Living in a cold home can harm your health and can make a range of health conditions worse. It can also impact on your mental wellbeing.
If you struggle to afford the energy you need to keep warm and well in your home, you may be eligible for a free warm home check. This service is available all year round and includes:
- a full assessment of your home and how best to keep it warm
- small preventative works such as improving insulation or repairing boilers
- emergency temporary heating
- advice on getting help with the cost of heating your home.
To find out more and if you’re eligible text WARM to 81400, call 03444 111 444 or visit the Keep Warm and Well website at www.warmeastsussex.org.uk. You’ll also find handy tips, DIY hints, details about grants and payments, and information and support to help you keep warm.
Cold weather alerts direct to your phone
coldAlert is a free service for residents of Sussex providing cold weather alerts to vulnerable individuals between the months of November and March.
A text, voicemail or email alert is sent when there are severe weather warnings in the local area. We recommend that you register for coldAlert if you are, or care for, an older person or an individual with a pre-existing medical condition that makes them vulnerable to severe weather conditions.
You can register online at www.coldalert.info/registration or by calling 01273 484337.
Reduce your heating bills
It’s a good idea to make sure that you’re not paying more than you need to for your gas and electricity. According to OFGEM, the average UK household could save £300 per year by finding a better energy deal and switching energy supplier.
Here are a few simple tips to help you compare suppliers and find the right energy deal for you:
- Citizens Advice Comparison Tool is a supplier comparison website recommended by the Energy Savings Trust.
- Look at your most recent bill to find out how much energy you use each year. This will help you to find an accurate quote and price comparison.
- If you want to switch but are currently on a fixed tariff with an exit fee (usually around £30 per fuel), you will have to wait until the final 49 days of your contract before you are allowed to switch without penalty.
- If the potential saving from switching is much more than the cost of exiting your current plan early, it may make sense to pay the exit fee and switch as soon as possible.
If you want to switch to a local supplier, Your Energy Sussex is not-for-profit, offers competitively priced gas and electricity and is supported by East and West Sussex County Councils and other local authorities across Sussex. It supplies 100% renewable electricity to all its customers and supports local people who are struggling to pay their energy bills.
You can get a quote and switch online at www.yourenergysussex.org.uk.