Elderly people in West Norfolk are being encouraged to stay Warm and Well this winter thanks to a campaign by council and officials.
The initiative was launched at a slipper swap held at Downham’s library on Wednesday, while a similar event will be held at the Gaywood library later this week.
The swaps enable older residents to exchange their old slippers for a free new slip-resistant pair instead. The old slippers are taken to shoebanks to be recycled.
While their new footwear is fitted by volunteers from Age UK Norfolk, visitors can also find out more about the range of services that are available to support them.
Paul Smyth, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s communities committee, said: “Many people across Norfolk find the winter period very difficult, so I am pleased that the Warm and Well Fund has been re-launched for 2014, as it can enable local communities to help those in particular need during the cold months.
“As we can all make a positive difference, I would encourage everyone to check on older or vulnerable neighbours or relatives, to make sure they’re safe and well, are warm enough, especially at night, and have stocks of food and medicines so they don’t need to go out during extreme weather conditions. Such an interest might save a life.”
Lucy Macleod, the authority’s interim director of public health, said that, while cold homes can contribute to ill-health, staying warm was a real problem for many people.
She added: “By giving people practical advice and showing them where they can get support, we can help prevent people from becoming cold and isolated and suffering from ill health, when the weather is at its worst and the temperatures at their lowest.”
A £20,000 fund has also been available to provide grants to community projects which support the elderly, people with long-term medical conditions and the homeless.
Among the groups which has received funding is the Thornham village hall, which has established a monthly soup and sandwich event during the winter period.
The campaign will be holding its next slipper swap at the Gaywood library this Thursday, December 18, between 10.30am and 12.30pm.
A similar event will also take place at the Hunstanton Community Centre on Tuesday January 27, between 10am and noon.