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District Dispatch - 25 October 2023

As the temperature starts to drop as we head towards the winter months, it's important as ever to ensure that you are not at risk of health issues by poor conditions in your home.

Councillor Tracie Bangert, Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing

We want to make sure that you keep warm and well and so I thought it would be useful highlighting some of the advice and support that is available to you.

During colder periods it's important to know the temperature of the room you're in, so it's worth having a thermometer available to use if you ever feel cold at home. You should always aim to keep the room you're in at 18°C or more to avoid heightened risk of high blood pressure and stroke. If you're in one room, you don't have to heat the whole house. Use your heating controls or thermostatic radiator valves to warm the spaces you're using and turn those down to a minimum in unused rooms. If you have health conditions such as asthma or COPD, it's important to think about hallways and spaces you may walk through during the day, as sudden changes in temperature may exacerbate your condition.

If you have a real fire, make sure that your chimney is swept before you start using it and that any wood you use is dry. It's also important to check electrical appliances like electric blankets, to make sure that they are safe to use. You can also complete your own home fire safety check online through Safelincs website (opens new window), which takes just 15 minutes.

Damp and mould are also big issues to watch out for. It's important to keep fresh air flowing to prevent these from causing a problem in your home. Breathing problems can be made worse by living in a damp or mouldy home. There are many ways you can help reduce the risk of damp and mould caused by condensation, such as not drying wet clothes on heaters; avoiding portable gas or paraffin heaters; and ensuring all ventilation is unblocked.

If you have extra communication, access or safety needs, it is worth signing up to the Priority Services Register (opens new window) which is free to join. It helps utility companies, including energy suppliers, electricity, gas and water networks to tailor their services to support households who need extra help with everyday energy matters, like bills, and also in the unlikely event of a power cut, gas or water supply interruption.

You could also benefit from schemes that help you improve the energy efficiency of your home, cut your carbon footprint, and reduce your bills. Many homes are losing hundreds of pounds each year because their property isn't energy efficient, so it's important to be aware of the different schemes available. To see if you're eligible for free insulation and renewable energy heating systems, please visit Warmer Homes (opens new window). We have also outlined all of the different support available on our Chichester District Council home energy efficiency page. It's worth noting that we're also working with partners to promote some of these grants, so you may receive a letter through the post from our partners with information. Look out for the council's logo and if you have any concerns and want to check that a letter is genuine then please give us a call.

If you are struggling with your energy bills, it's also worth speaking to the West Sussex Energy Team at Citizens Advice. You can call the dedicated team on 0800 145 6879, Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm, to see what support might be available to you, including grants and ways to make your home warmer.

If you have concerns about the cost of living, you can also contact the council's Supporting You team on 01243 534860 or visit our Supporting You page. We want to help in any way that we can — even if that means signposting you to the correct organisation.

Best Wishes

Cllr Tracie Bangert

Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing