Beating the cold weather

This week, the capital was gripped by a freezing cold snap which can be uncomfortable and inconvenient for many of us.

Sleet and snow flurries fell in parts of the capital on Monday morning including in Greenwich and Clapham, while wintry conditions had also swept across other parts of south-east England including Kent and Essex.

If you have a medical condition, or are on a low income, the problems which you experience can be even greater. Getting around can be trickier, and you may be worried about how you are going to pay for increased heating costs.

For many older people and people with existing medical conditions cold weather brings with it the increased risk of hypothermia and other health problems. 

The following are a few tips to help you to beat the big freeze whoever you are, and to ensure that those around you are safe and well.

General Cold Weather Advice

  • Stay tuned to the weather forecast. Ensure you are stocked with food and medications in advance (have deliveries or ask a friend to help) 
  • Avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold-related illness or falls 
  • Check room temperatures If you or someone else is likely to be restricted to one room during the winter period or during a cold spell, make sure that it can be kept at or above 21°C during the day and 18°C during the night. 
  • Plan what resources you / they will need to keep safe and warm. Seek energy advice from Residential Environmental Health on 020 7641 6161 or 
  • Discuss with friends and neighbours about clearing any snow and ice from the front of your house and public walkways nearby, if you are unable to do this yourself 
  • If you have to go out, make sure you dress warmly and wear non-slip shoes. Also tell someone where you are going and let them know when you get back. If you have a mobile phone, keep it charged and on you at all times 
  • Keep active 
  • Dress warmly, eat warm food and take warm drinks regularly
  • Maintain regular contact with vulnerable people and neighbours you know to be at risk in cold weather - ensure they have access to warm food and drinks and are managing to heat their home adequately 

Planning ahead 

Check the Met Office website or the BBC weather website for the latest weather forecasts, and to see what's happening over the next 5 days. Individuals can put their home area into it to check local weather conditions for their journeys to work.

Planning your journey

If you're travelling around London then use the Transport for London Journey Planner to check your route on any day when there might be problems, particularly if severe weather is forecast. 

Support for vulnerable people in a power cut

Older people and people with health problems can be especially vulnerable during a cold snap, or in the event of an unexpected power cut. 

UK Power Networks can offer additional support to vulnerable people during power cuts. If you are on their list of registered people then they can take action in the event of a power cut to ensure that you receive priority support.

If you or someone you know is particularly at risk during cold weather then don't delay - go now to the UK Power Networks website or complete this form to register with the scheme

Either email the completed form to,  or post it to:- Priority Service Co-ordinator, UK Power Networks, Fore Hamlet, Ipswich IP3 8AA.

Help paying the heating bills

You could get between £100 and £300 tax-free to help pay your heating bills if you were born on or before 5 July 1952. This is known as a 'Winter Fuel Payment'.

Find out more on the government's website.

Keeping your home warm, and the heating bills low

The government have produced a leaflet called Help towards lower bills and warmer homes with all the information which you need.

Other information and advice

You may also find it useful to look at the following pages on People First:-

And Age UK have produced their own tips on keeping warm this winter
NHS H&F CCG have produced their 'Stay well this winter' leaflet with updated information of services for Hammersmith & Fulham residents.