Warm packs and additional support to help residents beat the winter chill this Christmas

Staff preparing the warm packs at South Gloucestershire Council's head office at Badminton Road in Yate.

South Gloucestershire Council is helping residents to stay warm this Christmas with several offers of support over the festive period and winter months ahead.

The council is offering warm packs to those who need help to keep warm as the cost of energy and heating continue to rise. Included in the packs are clothing such as hats, socks and gloves, as well as other items for the home including a blanket, an LED light bulb and tea bags.

Packs will be available for men, women and children at the council’s One Stop Shops and Libraries from 22 December. Vulnerable residents will be prioritised although anyone can request a pack and they will be allocated on a case-by-case basis. Age UK will also be distributing tailored warm packs to pensioners, and some will include an electric blanket.

In addition, the council has purchased packs of radiator panels which will be given to those residents most in need to help them keep warmth in their homes and reduce energy bills. The panels are placed behind radiators and work by reducing energy loss through walls and by keeping more warmth in, they can help to cut costs.

Each pack consists of 10 panels with two required per radiator. Certain eligibility criteria will apply for the radiator packs and the council’s Handyvan service can be made available to fit them for free, if required. Radiator panels are an inexpensive way of conserving the energy we use so if you do not qualify for a free pack, they are worth considering to keep your home warm.

Councillor Franklin Owusu-Antwi, cabinet member for public health and equality of opportunity said: “We know things are difficult for many people right now and with the recent very cold temperatures, and the cost of Christmas, times are even tougher for some. It is important for your health to keep warm at home, especially if you have underlying health conditions, very young children, or elderly people in your household.

“That is why we are stepping forward to help those who need it. We are supporting a network of community welcome spaces that are available for people to go to keep warm in a welcoming and friendly environment, and our warm packs will help to provide some comfort to residents who are struggling with rising energy costs.”

The council’s network of community welcome spaces offers a friendly welcome and are free to use, with some providing hot drinks and activities. For more information on the support available, including how to keep warm and find a community welcome space, visit www.southglos.gov.uk/CostofLiving

Residents can find out if they eligible for financial help by calling the freephone helpline 0800 953 7778 (open 8.45am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 8.45am to 4.30pm Friday). Alternatively book an appointment by email OSSAppointments@southglos.gov.uk

The council also recognises that the current cost of living is putting pressure on food aid organisations and has allocated funding to launch the Community Food Fund grant scheme. The scheme enables food aid organisations to apply for grant funding of up to £500 for things such as food supplies, running costs and volunteer expenses. The funding is available on a first come, first served basis and organisations can visit www.southglos.gov.uk/community-food-fund to register and apply.