A new strategy which sets out plans to tackle fuel poverty and improve winter health in the county has been developed by North Yorkshire County Council and its partner organisations.
The North Yorkshire Winter Health Strategy has been launched at a conference that brought together county councillors, officers and partners from a range of sectors, including district councils; public health; community and voluntary groups; health and social care and housing. Around 80 delegates were present at the event.
County Councillor David Chance, Executive Member for Public Health and Stronger Communities, said, “Cold weather can have a significant impact on people’s health and in 2012/13 there were over 400 avoidable winter deaths in North Yorkshire.
“By working in partnership with organisations across the county, we can help to tackle the worst effects of cold weather on the health of our residents. I am delighted that so many partners have pledged their commitment to work together to deliver the strategy and help to reduce fuel poverty and avoidable winter deaths in North Yorkshire.”
The conference opened with a keynote speech by Cllr Chance followed by presentations from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health for North Yorkshire, and partners. These shared best practice on how to tackle the worse effects of winter.
The focus of the Winter Health Strategy is “working together to reduce fuel poverty and the adverse health effects of cold weather for individuals, families and communities”. During the conference, delegates contributed to a “pledge wall”, making commitments to help to deliver the strategy and make a real difference to North Yorkshire residents.
Pledges ranged from writing bids to raise funds and building new networks with partners to ensuring colleagues know how to signpost residents to seek help when they need it. The range of work already happening to tackle the worst effects of winter was showcased at a marketplace session and delegates had the opportunity to share information and resources.
The new Winter Health Strategy can be downloaded from www.nypartnerships.org.uk/seasonalwinterhealth
If anybody is concerned about a friend, neighbour or family member, they may be eligible for help as part of the Warm and Well in North Yorkshire project. Those who are struggling to afford their gas and electric bills, are unable to heat their home or are worried about winter’s effect on their health can complete a quick and simple referral into the project for practical support.
To check if a friend, neighbour or a loved one is eligible, and to access this support, people can complete the simple form at www.first4contact.org, or call 01423 740 001 (Monday to Friday). Both individuals and professionals can request support through this single point of contact.