Ipswich Town have joined with the leading local age charity, Age UK Suffolk, to officially launch their Spread the Warmth campaign.
The campaign highlights the problems that many older people can face during winter. In Suffolk alone more than 250 older people die needlessly as a result of the cold during the winter months. Spread the Warmth aims prevent frailer older people suffering this winter, to reduce the number of preventable winter deaths among people in later life, and to make this time of year better for those who may have otherwise nowhere to turn.
The launch of the campaign was celebrated by members of the Ipswich Town squad kicking a giant orange football, symbolising the colour of fire and warmth. The Club is particularly supporting the charity’s challenge to all Suffolk residents to ‘be a good neighbour’ to elderly people they know.
Former Northern Ireland international player and manager and Ipswich Town legend Bryan Hamilton was also on hand to show his support. “We can all join the Spread the Warmth team this winter and we are urging everyone to look out for elderly people in their neighbourhood during cold weather. Why not call round and introduce yourself now, so your older neighbour will know who you are when bad weather strikes and you knock on their door to offer a helping hand. If you’re worried about an older neighbour at any time, then just ring Age UK Suffolk on Ipswich 35 99 11 and have a chat.”
Daphne Savage, the charity’s Chief Executive said: “The most worrying aspect of the statistics is that much colder countries than ours have lower ‘excess winter deaths’, so there seems no good reason why these are not preventable. We are using Spread the Warmth to highlight the issues here in Suffolk and we are very grateful that our football club wants to support our most vulnerable older people too.”
“We want people to know that we welcome their calls,” Daphne Savage added. “Whether it’s for themselves, or on behalf of an elderly relative or neighbour. We may not know all the answers, but we will always know someone who does. Our advice is free and independent and all about older people having some choices and control over their lives.”
Age UK Suffolk will be working in a number of ways to help local older people to get through the winter. They are encouraging older people to prepare for the colder weather and have a range of free booklets available including ‘Winter Wrapped Up’ which gives lots of useful information (including two free thermometer to help people avoid hypothermia) and ‘Keep the cold out this winter’ which includes seasonable recipes and reminders about keeping warm. Older people are advised to keep their heating on during the cold weather and contact Age UK Suffolk if they are worried about their fuel bills. Call 01473 284 251 to request free copies of the booklets or to talk about your fuel bill worries. Also on offer are confidential benefit checks to ensure retired people are getting their maximum income – call Age UK Suffolk’s Benefits helpline on 01449 674 222.