Sian Welby launches lifesaving campaign as capital chill looms

14 December 2015

  • Sian Welby launching Winter WarmersWarmer campaign spreads Christmas cheer to isolated residents.
  • Local volunteers needed to deliver winter warmers in Wandsworth.
  • New programme of home warmth checks in borough.

A major campaign to save lives in Wandsworth this winter is being launched.

Today the campaign was backed by Channel 5 weather presenter Sian Welby.

The Winter Warmer campaign is run in partnership with Wandsworth Borough Council’s Department of Public Health, the Police and Fire Services in Wandsworth, and backed by the Wimbledon Foundation.

It aims to reach over 600 vulnerable older and disabled people.

Recent figures show each year in Wandsworth, during the winter months, nearly 100 people die as a result of being too cold in their own home. And freezing weather is set to take hold of Britain. 

The campaign has been set up to prevent vulnerable people developing serious health problems by offering a lifeline of advice and support to help them keep warm.

Kind-hearted volunteers also aim to combat this by handing out Winter Warmer packs to vulnerable, older and disabled people in the community — some of whom will be spending Christmas alone. 

Emergency services have also been lending their support — local firefighters and police have been delivering packs to get as many out to vulnerable people before the chill bites.

Sian Welby launching the Winter Warmer campaign this week said:

‘Despite it seeming like a mild Christmas in the capital this year, it only takes temperatures to drop by a few degrees for it to affect the elderly and vulnerable.

‘When talking to a representative from Leonard Cheshire Disability I was shocked to realise that most of the call outs and problems occur when the temperatures are between 2 and 8 degrees.

‘So it doesn't have to be snowy and icy for people to need our help.’

Sian Welby hands out blanketsLeonard Cheshire Disability Randall Close resource centre service manager William J Gallagher, who is one of the people leading the campaign, said:

‘Winter and the cold can be very dangerous for disabled, older and vulnerable people. We are working with Wandsworth Council to save lives. 

‘We want to reach out to not just the people who use our services but as many people in the community as we can to let them know we are here to help.

‘We can offer free warming packs to those who need them.

‘This campaign is not just charity; it aims to raise awareness of a wider national problem in our society.

‘I urge everyone to look out for and care for those in their communities who may need help at this time of year.’

Run in conjunction with Wandsworth Department of Public Health, Wandsworth Housing Adaptations and Repairs Forum, and Age UK Wandsworth, the campaign sees people receive gift packs of soup, blankets, scarves, gloves and duvets to keep out the winter chill, as well as providing information and advice.

The campaign will also involve all the Wandsworth community including the Bluebell Café, Hindu Society, Balham Community Centre, Lambeth Chinese Community Association and the Latchmere Leisure Centre.

Wandsworth Council’s spokesman for health and adult social services, Councillor Jim Maddan said:

‘Around 100 people die each year in Wandsworth because they are cold and the council is determined to work with our partners to bring this number down. 

‘We are targeting areas where numbers are higher to make sure people have the information and support they need to stay healthy and warm. 

‘I would urge anyone with an elderly friend, relative or neighbour to keep an eye on them this winter, so together we can protect our vulnerable residents.’

If you have blankets, warm clothing or food you would like to donate to the Winter Warmer campaign, please call William J Gallagher at Randall Close on 0207 223 0422.

Media enquiries

For interviews or photos please email Afsheen Latif or call 0203 242 0389. 

Notes for the editor 

Leonard Cheshire Disability is the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of services for disabled people. Our services include high-quality care and community support together with innovative projects supporting disabled people into education, employment and entrepreneurship. Worldwide, our global alliance of Cheshire partners supports disabled people into education and employment, and works in more than 50 countries. With over 7,500 staff, the charity supports over 7,000 disabled people in the UK. 

The Excess Winter Deaths Steering Group is comprised of partners such as Wandsworth Borough Council, Wandsworth Age UK, Leonard Cheshire Disability, WHARF and Wandsworth Older People’s Forum.