Warm and Well in North Yorkshire
The central piece of work in order to achieve this was the creation of a first-of-its-kind ‘single point of contact’ as recommended by NICE Guidelines (‘Excess Winter Deaths and illness and the health risks associated with cold homes’) and in alignment with the county-wide winter health strategy (‘Seasonal Winter Health Strategy 2015 – 2020’) of which our project formed the implementation plan. Our single point of contact was available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via its online, electronic platform, but an accompanying helpline ran during office hours for those without internet access or digital skills. It was open for both professional- and self-referrals.
This was such a success that our statutory body North Yorkshire County Council extended the lifetime of the service beyond Warm & Well’s initial funding, meaning the referral platform could stay open to cover the end of 16/17 winter season. The single point of contact was a pilot for this region and relied on a large body of partner organisations to deliver the support embedded within it. The shared ownership of the platform and shared ethics around the table meant that this was a model of best practice for other local authorities around the country and we had very excellent feedback, including from NICE and our regional Public Health team. The WASH funding allowed this to remain for another year.
Warm & Well enabled:
- Practical and financial help to stay warm and healthy
- Home visits and one-to-one support to look at how homes could be made more energy-efficient, where savings could be made, or incomes maximised
- Talks, events, and information sessions on a wide range of topics relating to fuel poverty, energy awareness, switching, and good winter health
- Support for community initiatives in the areas of winter weather schemes or hardship funds for vulnerable residents
- Advice and resources around health and wellbeing, including top tips on keeping warm and well and examples of healthy eating and habits
- Crisis funding and access to grants for those in need
- Media and public campaigns around Warm Home Discounts, making referrals, and volunteer-made draught excluders – as well as a range of other awareness drives
- Training and awareness for frontline workers so they could identify and treat the signs and symptoms of fuel poverty
- A ‘cold comic’ and lesson plans for primary schools bringing the message to a new audience in a new and unique way
- A winter health ‘single point of contact’ providing a referral gateway into the project for beneficiaries and professionals.