Stay well this winter

We all feel the effects of cold winter weather but it can be even more challenging for people with long-term health conditions, children under five, or people over 65.

The NHS website gives information about how to prepare for winter and keep common winter illnesses at bay, so that you don’t need to go to hospital.

Find out more in our keep warm and well flyer or read the NHS Easy Read Stay Well this Winter leaflet.

Keeping warm 

The cold weather can be seriously bad for your health, especially if you’re under five, over 65 or have a long-term health condition. The good news is there are lots of things you can do:

  • Heat your home to at least 18 degrees.
  • Look out for others - ask how they are keeping warm during cold weather.
  • Stay as active as you can - any exercise will benefit your physical and mental health.
  • Check if you’re eligible for help to keep your home warm.

Warm homes support

Do you struggle to pay your energy bills? Are you worried about how you are going to keep your home warm this winter? Would you like to know if there are ways to make your energy bills more affordable? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then please get in touch by calling (01226) 773366 or emailing warmhomes@barnsley.gov.uk

We’ll carry out a telephone assessment to help you with:

  • Price comparison
  • Energy discount
  • Issues with energy suppliers including billing and debt
  • Improving homes with energy savings measures
  • Funding or grants for boilers and insulation

For more information on ways to keep warm and save money on your energy bills this winter see our advice on making your home warmer and cheaper to run. The Energy Saving Trust also have some great tips on saving money on your energy bills.

Did you know?

  • If you are eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme you could get £140 towards your energy bills over the winter period.
  • If you haven’t changed your energy supplier recently you could be paying over £100 per year more than you need to.
  • Paying your energy bills by monthly direct debit can save you up to £85 each year.
  • Cold weather payments are made automatically if you are eligible.

If you need any support around keeping your home warm, please call the Warm Homes Team on (01226) 773366 or email warmhomes@barnsley.gov.uk

Renting your home?

Your landlord’s obligations

Your property should have an appropriate heating system which has been safely and properly installed, is maintained and should be controllable by you. You should also be able to ventilate your property appropriately. If you think that your property is too cold, too expensive to heat, or you have mould and damp then ask your landlord for help.

For more support call our Housing Team on (01226) 773555, email safer@barnsley.gov.uk or visit our housing webpages.

Advice from Berneslai Homes

When you have your heating system on remember to close the doors of rooms to help retain heat. At night keep your curtains closed and don’t cover radiators with them.

Visit the Berneslai Homes website for useful information to protect you and your home. If you are struggling with your finances, using your heating and paying your energy bills, then the Tenants First Service may be able to help you. Email TenantsFirstService@berneslaihomes.co.uk or call (01226) 787181.

Keeping healthy and staying well

Get your flu jab

Getting a flu jab is also important to help you stay well this winter. Flu is a highly infectious disease with symptoms that can appear quickly. It can make people’s existing conditions worse and could lead to complications such as pneumonia.

If you’re eligible for a free flu vaccination or you have a child that’s eligible, it’s because you or they need it. Speak to your doctor today. Adults can also get a free vaccination from a number of local chemists.

It’s also recommended that babies, people aged over 65 and people with certain long-term health conditions get the pneumococcal vaccine.

Keep COVID safe

If you haven’t already had both doses of your COVID-19 vaccine, why not book your appointment now to make sure that you have the best protection from severe illness caused by the virus? You can book online today on the NHS website or by calling 119, or you can just turn up at one of our drop-in clinics. You can also read the Barnsley CCG COVID-19 vaccine FAQs.

It’s not too late to give yourself the best protection this winter. If you’re eligible, make sure to also get your COVID-19 booster vaccine when invited.

Remember, even if you are vaccinated, it is important to:

  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Wear your mask in busier indoor places, where social distancing is difficult.
  • Keep a safe distance where possible from people you don’t live with.

Thank you for doing everything you can to protect yourself, your friends and your family against COVID-19 this winter.

If you need medical advice

Visit your pharmacist at the first sign of illness before it gets worse. If you need urgent medical assistance, call 111 or visit NHS 111 online.

In an emergency call 999.

Remember that GP appointments are now available at evenings and weekends in Barnsley. Call i-HEART Barnsley on (01226) 242419 or visit the i-HEART Barnsley website.

You can also download the NHS app to your smart device, where you can check your symptoms, book appointments and order repeat prescriptions.

If you think you have coronavirus do not visit your GP or pharmacist. Visit the NHS coronavirus webpages or use NHS 111.

Keeping moving

We know how important it is for our general health to move around when we can and do some regular exercise. As we get older our muscle strength and balance reduce, which can lead to a fall.

The What’s Your Move website has some great advice on exercises for older people which can be done at home – including exercising when seated and exercises to improve balance, flexibility and strength. 

Moving more every day is a good way to keep yourself warm, improve health and prevent falls. For more information on what activities are available near you give Age UK Barnsley a call on (01226) 776820.

Falls prevention

Falls for over 65s should be taken very seriously because of the significant impact they can have on your health. You can reduce your risk by taking care of your health, making simple changes to your home and exercising to improve strength and balance.

Find out more about falls prevention or call Age UK Barnsley on (01226) 776825.

  • Regular ear checks help to prevent falls due to dizzy spells and poor balance. Your GP can refer you to a specialist.
  • If you’re taking medication, make sure you have a yearly review.
  • Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
  • Watch out for clutter, trailing wires, rugs, uneven floors, spills and slippery floors.
  • Properly fitted shoes and slippers can help reduce slips and trips.
  • If you think poor vision is increasing your risk of falls, even when wearing glasses, visit your optician for a sight test.

Safe sleeping

To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death (SIDS) it’s important to make sure that your baby is a comfortable temperature – not too hot or too cold. The chance of SIDS is higher in babies who get too hot. A room temperature of 16 to 20 degrees, with light bedding, is comfortable and safe for sleeping babies. It may be useful to use a room thermometer in the room where your baby is sleeping. Remember to remove outdoor clothing such as coats and hats when coming indoors from the cold.

The safest place for a baby to sleep is in their cot or Moses basket. For more information about safe sleeping visit The Lullaby Trust website.

If you need any further advice or support about safe sleeping you can contact the 0-19 Public Health Nursing Service on (01226) 774411, email 0-19HealthTeam@barnsley.gov.uk or visit our Barnsley 0-19 Public Health Nursing Service Facebook page

Protecting your home

Look out for older friends and relatives this winter. Keep an eye out for potential fire hazards and make sure they have working smoke alarms. If the temperature drops and you use an electric heater, keep it well away from anything flammable including decorations and soft furnishings, and never use one to dry clothes. Make sure you have a working smoke alarm on every floor of your home and test them regularly.

To request a home safety check from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue please call (0114) 2532314 or complete the online form on their website. For hard of hearing residents, please text your details to 07776 225 696.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue also have some useful tips on chimney and open fire safety and finding the time to check on elderly neighbours and relatives to reduce their fire risk.

Local support

Your local area team will be able to let you know about support available to help you keep warm and well this winter. Find out more about your local area and ward or by calling (01226) 773555.

Our Housing Team can also help with people struggling with self-neglect or hoarding. Contact them for support or visit our self neglect and hoarding webpages.

Rough sleeping

If you are worried about someone sleeping rough this winter, please report it through Streetlink, by emailing adviceservices@barnsley.gov.uk or ringing (01226) 773870.

Top tips

  • Keep up to date with weather warnings on the Met Office website and get top tips on their weather ready page.
  • If you need to access anything online, there is free WiFi in Barnsley town centre.
  • If you’re worried about an adult or child’s safety or wellbeing, call (01226) 773300 for adults or (01226) 772423 for a child. If it’s an emergency ring 999.
  • Make sure to have a supply of food and medicines in the house.
  • For local advice and support on money, benefits and more, call Age UK Barnsley on (01226) 776825, DIAL on (01226) 240273, or Citizens Advice Barnsley on 0800 144 8848 or by contacting CAB online.