Monday, 16 January 2012

Age UK Winter Pledge

I joined with Lisa Nandy MP in the fight to save lives this winter in the Borough by signing up to the Age UK Winter Pledge.

Last year nearly 22,000 people aged over 65 in England and Wales died unnecessarily during the winter and Lisa and Yvonne agree with Age UK that this figure is a disgraceful waste of life. In the North West there were 3920 excess winter deaths.

Lisa Nandy MP said, “We have one of the worst levels of unnecessary winter deaths in Europe – with each day on average over 200 succumbing to the effects of the cold weather. The number of older people who do not survive the winter here is far higher than in most European countries, including those where the weather is far colder.”

By both signing the Age UK pledge, we are committing to working with the charity to help ensure all our older constituents are prepared for winter by knowing the dangers of cold weather and how they can guard against them.

John McArdle, Chief Officer of Wigan Age UK said, “We are delighted that Lisa and Yvonne have joined our fight to reduce this shocking waste of life.  We know that behind the excess winter deaths figures lie deep-seated social issues with over 5 million households living in fuel poverty and one in three older people living in housing that is poorly insulated.”

By signing up to the Age UK pledge Lisa and Yvonne are committing to:

• Raising awareness of the dangers to health of cold weather and cold homes
• Working with their local Age UK to tackle the local priorities for older people
• Challenging energy providers to produce simple tariffs to make it easier for people to lower their bills.
• Promoting preventative measures that older people can take before a cold spell
• Encouraging all sectors of the local community to make tackling excess winter deaths a priority
• Ensuring that all their constituents are prepared for winter

Age UK is working in partnership with the Met Office to alert vulnerable older people when a cold snap is expected, sending out key messages on how to keep warm and well.

The pledge is part of Age UK’s annual Spread the Warmth campaign. The Charity and its local and national partners are aiming to make winter warmer for 360,000 older people by providing information, advice and practical services to help keep warm and well in the colder winter months, preventing many thousands from being left isolated and alone. These include getting warm and nutritious meals to older people, helping to keep homes warm, and giving free information and advice 365 days a year.

There will be lots of ways to help Age UK Spread the Warmth this winter. People can make a donation simply by calling 0800 169 87 87 or via the web.

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