Vulnerable residents have been helped to tackle the health risks of winter, thanks to £85,000 of extra Government funding.
The Warm and Well-on-Sea project was designed to boost work already being undertaken by many voluntary groups and organisations in the borough.
These extra funds and resources helped them target their efforts as widely possible to help vulnerable people protect themselves against the dangers of cold weather.
The Department of Health grant was awarded to Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, in collaboration with South Essex Primary Care Trust, Southend Association of Voluntary Services, Homeless Action Resource Project (HARP), Papworth Trust and Southend Citizens Advice Bureau.
Managed by Southend Association of Voluntary Services, the project is being directed at ways to lessen the health impacts of winter up until Saturday 31st March.
This included producing an information booklet on how vulnerable households can improve the efficiency of their properties as well as look after their health.
A group of volunteers from SAVS and Southend Youth Council have helped prepare letters and leaflets for distribution.
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Executive Councillor for Adult Social Care, Health and Housing, Councillor Lesley Salter said: “This funding has a huge boost to build on the very important work already being undertaken in this area. Deprived areas of Southend have significant health inequalities which we are doing our utmost to deal with.
“In addition there could be more than 5,000 households classified as being in Fuel Poverty – having to spend more than ten per cent of their income on heating.
“The exceptionally cold weather and snow earlier this month, once again highlighted the need for the most vulnerable in Southend on Sea to have access to the services already in place to assist them. We are very grateful indeed to the volunteers and to Southend Youth Council for helping with the mailing.”
The information booklet is now being sent to more than 12,000 homes, and also distributed through other avenues and agencies.
Louise McIver from SAVS said: “We are pleased to be part of this community project and be a partner in reaching these vulnerable families. We have recruited existing volunteers from community based organisations to carry out the Home Checks and these dedicated volunteers have been doing a great job. They are coping admirably with the positive response received during the early phases of the project and are well prepared for the further numbers we expect.”