Welcome to Barnsley's guide to keeping warm and well for winter 2023 to 2024.
Anyone can become unwell, if they get too cold, especially if you're under five, over 65, pregnant, or have a long-term health condition. The good news is there are lots of things you can do. This webpage is full of top tips and information on ways to make sure you, your friends and family can cope with cold weather this winter.
We know this winter will be difficult financially for a lot of people. Visit our More Money in Your Pocket webpage for more help; it's dedicated to helping you get local support.
You can find out more below, or download our keep warm and well leaflet.
Warm homes support
We know that this winter will be difficult for many people, and our Warm Homes team are here to help.
If you’re worried about paying your energy bills or struggling to keep your home warm, we can help by advising you on making your home warmer and cheaper to run.
We can provide:
- Advice on how to improve your home with energy-saving measures.
- Assistance with applications for grants for heating and insulation.
- Information and signposting to other services including DIAL’s Warm Connections, Citizens Advice, Age UK and the Green Doctors.
Our Warm Homes team will be taking their drop-in sessions to our libraries throughout the winter to provide advice and support to help you keep your home warmer this winter.
Advice for private tenants
If you’re a private tenant renting your home from a landlord, your property should have an appropriate heating system which has been safely installed, is maintained and should be controllable by you.
If you think your property is too cold, too expensive to heat, or you have damp and mould, which is more common in winter, then ask your landlord for help.
They have a legal duty to ensure the property is well maintained and to carry out repairs. They should also ensure that working smoke alarms are installed on every level of the property and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted in rooms which have a solid fuel appliance like an open fire or log burner.
If they aren't dealing with issues in a timely manner, please tell us by calling (01226 773555). For more support, email email@example.com or visit advice for private tenants. The charity Shelter also provide advice about damp and mould.
Advice from Berneslai Homes
Make sure you prepare yourself for the cold this winter. Visit Berneslai Homes cold weather page for useful tips and advice to help protect you and your home. If you're struggling with the cost of living, paying your bills or paying for essential items such as food, clothing, and toiletries, please visit Berneslai Homes cost of living support page to see how the Tenants First team can help and support you.
If you have problems with damp and mould in your home, please visit Berneslai Homes damp and mould page for advice, tips and how to report it.
You can call Berneslai Homes on (01226) 787878.
Did you know?
If you’re eligible for the Warm Home Discount, you could get £150 for your energy bills over winter. Find out more about the Warm Home Discount scheme.
- The Great British Insulation Scheme has been launched by the government to help people insulate their homes. Find out if you're eligible for the Great British Insulation Scheme.
- You may also be eligible for benefits, grants and help offered by the government and energy suppliers, including the Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payment. Find out more about benefits, grants and helps on GOV.UK.
- Find out about how you can get help to pay your energy bills on the GOV.UK website.
- People who meet certain criteria might be able to get extra support from their energy supplier by signing up for the Priority Services Register. Speak to your supplier to see if you’re eligible.
While falls are not inevitable, they can be a common problem for older people, so we must all take simple steps to make sure we are not at risk. There are lots of simple things you can do to reduce your risk of falls, including:
- Regularly getting your hearing and sight checked to help identify problems early.
- 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.
Staying active is a great way to improve your strength and balance while reducing your risk of falls. Get inspired at the What's Your Move website.
Our Barnsley Older People Physical Activity Alliance (BOPPAA) also offer a wide range of fun activities in our communities to get you moving. Find out more on the BOPPAA webpage.
Get a free fire home safety check
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. You can also sign up for free reminders to test your smoke alarms on the Press the Button website.
To check your eligibility for a Home Safety Check, please complete the online form, then select 'Start Your Online Home Safety Check'. If you’re having problems with the online form, please call the hotline on 0114 253 2314 for further support.
Keeping your baby at a comfortable temperature while they sleep will help keep them safe and reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). A room temperature of 16 to 20 degrees Celsius, with light bedding, is comfortable and safe for sleeping babies. Babies should never sleep with a hot water bottle, electric blanket or next to a heater, fire or radiator. Remove outdoor clothing such as coats and hats when coming indoors, as babies can overheat because of too much clothing.
The safest place for a baby to sleep for the first six months is in their cot or Moses basket in the same room as you. Make sure the cot or Moses basket is a clear space with no cot or bumpers or pillows. For more information about safe sleeping, visit the Lullaby Trust website.
- Try to heat rooms you spend a lot of time in, such as the living room or bedroom, to at least 18°C and keep the windows closed.
- DIAL’s Specialist Welfare Benefits Team can provide expert advice and assistance to check your entitlement, advise you of your options and guide you through the process. To find out more and to speak to an advisor face to face, contact DIAL by phone on (01226) 240273, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the DIAL Barnsley website
- For local advice and support on money, benefits and more call Age UK Barnsley on (01226) 776825.
- Wearing multiple layers of thin clothing can keep you warmer than one thicker layer.
- We all have the right to live free from harm and neglect. If email@example.com or calling (01226) 773 870. If you’re worried about yourself, family or friends please call the Adult Safeguarding team on (01226) 773300 or the Child Safeguarding team on (01226) 772423. In an emergency, always call 999.
If your call is out of hours, call (01226) 787789. If you are deaf and have a safeguarding concern, please text 61009 and start your message with the word SAFE.
- Stay as active as you can. Moving around more will help your physical and mental health. See the What's Your Move website for more information and ideas on staying active.
- Look out for others during cold weather, particularly older neighbours, family friends and neighbours who may need extra support during cold weather. Keep in touch with them and ask whether they are feeling unwell, or whether they need any practical help.
- Barnsley’s Welcoming Spaces will be open across the borough for everyone, offering a warm and friendly welcome. For full details about Welcoming Spaces and other available support, visit the More Money in Your Pocket.
- Keep up to date with weather warnings on the Met Office website.
- If you're worried about someone sleeping rough this winter, please report it through Streetlink, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or ringing (01226) 773870.
- If you're struggling to pay your bills, Citizens Advice Barnsley can help. Book an advice appointment online at Citizens Advice Barnsley.
Need medical advice?
Visit your pharmacist at the first sign of illness. Pharmacists are trained medical professionals and can help you with many minor ailments and illnesses.
If you need urgent medical assistance, call 111 or visit NHS 111 online. The service is available 24/7.
In an emergency, always call 999.
Remember that GP appointments are now available at evenings and weekends in Barnsley. Call iHEART Barnsley on (01226) 242419 or visit the iHEART 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.
Tell Healthwatch about your experiences
If you live in Barnsley and have used or need to use the service of a doctor (GP), the hospital, dentists, care homes or other support services, Healthwatch want to hear about your experiences. They’re independent and have the power to make sure NHS leaders and other decision makers listen to your voice and improve standards of care for people in Barnsley.
Boost your immunity this winter
Since the first COVID-19 vaccine was given, it has saved lives and made it safer for us to live with
COVID. However, the virus is still with us and is still making people very ill every day. Flu will also be around. For most people flu is unpleasant while it can be very dangerous and even life-threatening for others.
Having your vaccines will help you stay healthy. Getting your flu and COVID vaccines are two of the most important things you can do to keep yourself and others around you safe this winter. If you’re eligible, you will be contacted by the NHS to remind you where you can get the vaccine locally.
You can find out more about how to book an appointment by visiting the NHS App or NHS.UK website. If you can’t get online, you can call 119 for free.
Keeping Barnsley's roads safe this winter
Our gritting team will be working through the winter to keep our primary routes clear across the borough.
Our teams will be on standby around the clock until the end of April, ready to head out and grit main routes day or night.
We’ll be monitoring our weather stations around the borough which, along with specialised daily forecasts, let us know when we need to head out and grit the roads. We also monitor air and road temperatures, rainfall, road moisture, cloud cover, wind direction, and residual salt.
Please take care when travelling in colder weather, check that your vehicle is winter ready, and leave plenty of time for your journey in adverse weather.
The grit we provide in grit bins should be used to treat the pavements and roads in your area that we don’t grit. You shouldn’t use it on your own property.
For more information on gritting routes and grit bin locations, visit our gritting webpage or call us on (01226) 773555.