Winter Matters

Tips and advice to help you and your loved ones look after your money, health and wellbeing and safety during the colder months.

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Being prepared for Winter Matters. We have brought together a range of tips and advice to support you and your family, as well as information to keep you up to date with what is happening in Suffolk this winter.

Click the sections below to find out more. 

Your Money Matters

Cost of Living

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The Cost of living is a big issue for people in Suffolk right now.

We have a range of advice for households, businesses and charitable organisations as well as ways people can offer support.

Visit our Cost of Living Support page to find out more.

Your Safety Matters

Reducing your fire risk

Help keep you and your loved ones safe from fire: 

  • check your smoke alarm; if you do not have one, check if you're eligible for free alarms
  • when using open fires, make sure you always use a fireguard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers
  • make sure embers are under control and properly put out before you go to bed
  • keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained
  • keep heaters away from curtains and furniture, never use them for drying clothes and try to secure them against a wall to stop them from falling over
  • unplug electric heaters and blankets when you go to bed
  • only use gas or paraffin heaters in well-ventilated areas. You could suffocate if the room is not properly aired
  • never use hot water bottles in the same bed as an electric blanket
  • don't leave electric blankets folded as this damages the internal wiring
  • electric blankets should be bought new and tested every 3 years. Replace your blanket when it is more than 10 years old
  • if you have to use candles or matches always secure them in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire - like curtains
  • put candles out completely using a snuffer or water before leaving the room or going to bed

Protecting your home

To protect your home:

  • check that pipes are adequately lagged and know where your stop tap is located
  • check that your heating is serviced and cooking appliances in your home are working correctly
  • check that you have ordered your winter heating fuel
  • find out if you are entitled to grants and subsidies for home heating insulation
  • discuss with family and neighbours how snow and ice might be cleared from in front of your house if you will be unable to do this yourself

Be Scam Aware

Although rising prices may prompt many of us to look for a good deal this winter, this should not be at the expense of safety.

Online auction sites or social media marketplaces can be rife with counterfeit goods or products that don’t meet the UK’s stringent safety laws. These often haven’t been properly tested and could pose a serious risk of fire, serious injury or even death.

Buying from reputable retailers will help to keep you safe and remember, if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Find out how to keep yourself and your loved ones free from Scams this winter. Visit Suffolk Trading Standards Be scam aware webpage.

Follow Suffolk County Council's Trading Standards on social media to see the most up to date advice and scams circulating.

  • Like Suffolk Trading Standards on Facebook.
  • Follow Suffolk Trading Standards on Twitter.
  • Follow Suffolk Trading Standards on Instagram.
  • Subscribe to Suffolk Trading Standards on YouTube.

Always report a scam

Please report scams to Trading Standards via Citizens Advice Consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or via their online reporting service. If you have lost money or given a scammer your financial details, contact your bank immediately.

Forward scam text messages to 7726.

Send scam emails to the National Cyber Security Centre at report@phishing.gov.uk

Your Environment Matters

Recycling

Discover ways you can reduce and re-use your waste, at Suffolk Recycling.

Find your nearest Household Waste Recycling Centre and its opening times. 

Contact your Local Council about Bin collections. 

Cut down on Food Waste

Food Savvy offers advice to help you reduce your food waste and save money!

You can also follow Food Savvy Suffolk social media channels where we will be sharing top tips, handy hints and recipe ideas.

twitter logo, link to twitter Food Savvy account Twitter: https://twitter.com/FoodSavvySfk

Facebook logo, link to Facebook Food Savvy account Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoodSavvySfk

Your Journey Matters

The winter season for Suffolk Highways runs from 1 October to 30 April.

Follow @suff_highways on Twitter for regular updates during winter.

For further information:

We work with:

Travelling 

Winter weather can deteriorate fast, making driving hazardous. Suffolk Police advise motorists to:

  • check the weather forecast before setting off, if bad weather is forecast consider whether your journey is necessary
  • top up anti-freeze and screen wash and check for wear and tear on wiper blades
  • make sure your battery is fully charged
  • keep tyres at the recommended pressures and check you have at least 3 mm of tread
  • wipe off dirt, the spray of headlamps and make sure all bulbs are working
  • keep windows clear of snow, frost and condensation before setting off on a journey
  • clear snow from the top of the car
  • keep the fuel tank topped up and make sure you have enough fuel for your journey
  • allow extra time for your journey and drive at a sensible speed
  • take a fully charged mobile phone with you and carry a mobile charger and some emergency kit in the car, including a map, jump leads for the car battery, torch, warning triangle, ice scraper, de-icer, first-aid kit and warm clothes
  • in severe weather or for a long trip you may want to add a shovel, a pair of boots, a blanket, any medication, food and a hot drink

Suffolk Constabulary has more information about driving in bad weather.

Gritting

If we can't fit - we can't grit! 

When parking on roads, please park considerately and leave enough room so that our vehicles can grit the road.

Find out more about Suffolk Highways winter service plan, including which roads are gritted and grit bin information.  

Your Health and Wellbeing Matters

Stay protected

Winter Vaccinations

Whilst flu and Covid are unpleasant for most people, they can be dangerous and even life-threatening for those with certain health conditions. Vaccinations are our best defence against severe illness this winter. Get vaccinated against Covid-19 and seasonal flu.

Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine is available for free to those aged 50+, frontline health and social care workers, carers, people who are in a clinical risk group, pregnant women and those who have or live with someone with a weakened immune system.

Children can also get a nasal spray flu vaccine free on the NHS if they are:

  • aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2022 (born between 1 September 2018 and 31 August 2020)
  • all primary school children (Reception to Year 6)
  • some secondary school aged children
  • aged 2 to 17 years with long-term health conditions

If your child is aged between 6 months and 2 years and has a long-term health condition that makes them at higher risk from flu, they'll be offered a flu vaccine injection instead of the nasal spray.

This is because the nasal spray is not licensed for children under 2 years old.

To book your flu vaccine, contact Contact your GP, pharmacist or midwife. 

Find out more at nhs.uk

Covid Vaccine and Autumn Booster 

The autumn Covid booster vaccine is available for free to those aged 50+, frontline health and social care workers, carers, people who are in a clinical risk group, pregnant women and those who have or live with someone with a weakened immune system. 

You can have your autumn Covid booster if it's been at least 3 months since you had your previous dose. 

If you have not had a 1st or 2nd dose of the Covid-19 vaccine yet, you should have them as soon as possible.

Visit www.sneevaccine.org.uk to book your appointment for a Covid booster or find a walk-in clinic.

 Some more tips to stay protected this winter:

  • Winter viruses spread easily. If you have symptoms of a cough or a cold, consider staying at home to protect others. If you are unable to stay at home, consider wearing a face covering when you are close to other people. 
  • check weather forecasts and take this into account when planning your day
  • check you have shoes with good grip, to prevent falls in cold weather
  • wear several layers of clothes to stay warm
  • remain active in your home and limit going outside unless it is necessary
  • good hand hygiene can help prevent the spread of viruses such as norovirus or Covid-19
  • check NHS: Five ways to stay healthy this winter for health guidance

Keeping warm this winter

Tips for staying warm in your home:

  • Set your thermostat at around 18-21C and heat all the rooms you use in the day
  • If you cannot heat all your rooms, make sure you keep your main living room warm throughout the day and heat your bedroom before going to bed
  • In very cold weather, rather than turn the thermostat up, set the heating to come on earlier so you will not be cold while you wait for your home to heat up
  • Have regular meals, including plenty of hot food and drinks, keeping your diet as varied as possible
  • During the night try to keep the temperature above 18C in your bedroom
  • Find more information from NHS: Keep warm keep well.

Warm Homes Suffolk helps vulnerable people and families make their homes warmer and cheaper to heat. The service can help in several ways:

  • Help with your fuel payments
  • Lend you electric heaters
  • Assess you for financial assistance towards the cost of repairs or replacements if your boiler or heater stops working
  • Discuss energy efficiency improvements that could make a real difference to your heating bills
  • Help you to access grants to help pay for insulation and basic draught proofing

For advice on keeping warm and well this winter, call the Age UK's Winter Warmth Advice Line free on 0800 678 1602, Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, or textphone 0800 085 7857.

For more general information, see Age UK's Spread the Warmth campaign.

Tips for looking after your health and wellbeing:

Icy roads and snow can often mean that older or more vulnerable people are not able to get out and about.

Checking the welfare of vulnerable people

If you have an elderly, vulnerable neighbour or a relative, please look out for them in the winter months. They may need help with shopping, clearing paths, walking a dog or to see a friendly face.

Check to see if the curtains are not opened during the day, or there are no lights on in the evening, as there may be something wrong.

Try knocking on the door to see if there's an answer. If not, contact a relative or friend who you think may have a key.

Are you concerned about your welfare, or the welfare of someone else?

If you have concerns about somebody who you have not seen for a while and you have not been able to contact them, get in touch with your local police force on 101.

If you have immediate concerns around your own health or welfare, or somebody else's, please call 999.

If you feel that yourself, or somebody you know, is struggling to maintain their personal care, then there may be support from adult care services.

Clearing snow and ice from pavements

Anyone can clear snow and ice from the pavement outside their home or public spaces to prevent slips and falls. 

Do not be put off clearing paths because you're afraid someone will get injured. Remember, people walking on snow and ice have a responsibility to be careful themselves.

The government gives advice about clearing snow from a road, path or cycleway.