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Date updated: 12/12/2022

Worried about the cost of living this winter?

We have pulled together advice services, information on accessing benefits, support with school costs and much more on our cost of living landing page.

Get help with the cost of living

Staying well during the winter

There are many factors that may affect our health during cold weather and throughout the winter. Please read on to find information about the various things that you can do to protect yourself, and the support options available to you.

Here are five things that the NHS recommends during the winter:

  • Make sure you get your flu vaccination
  • Come forward for your COVID-19 booster when offered
  • Take advantage of financial schemes and discounts to help you pay for heating
  • Contact NHS 111 online or by phone if you are worried about any symptoms
  • Look out for other people who may need a bit of extra help over the winter

More on their website.

Flu

Flu (influenza) can be serious illness for some people, particularly those with underlying health conditions, those who are pregnant, very young or elderly.

The flu virus is different every year meaning getting a new vaccination is the best way to protect you this winter. As we head into winter, getting vaccinated against flu gives you that vital extra protection.

If you are eligible for a free flu vaccination on the NHS it’s a good idea to book one in, if you haven’t already. To find out if you qualify for a free flu vaccine through the NHS, and how to get one, visit the flu vaccine page on the NHS website.

COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccines are available to everyone over the age of five years old. To find out more information, visit the COVID-19 Vaccine page

Get Boosted. Even if you have had all your COVID-19 vaccinations or had the virus itself, your immunity decreases over time and the latest booster provides extra protection against newer variants of the virus. If you are over the age of 50, you can now get the autumn booster vaccine.

COVID-19 and Flu vaccinations

It’s safe to have both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time, however, if you are eligible for a booster COVID-19 vaccine, it may not be possible to provide the flu vaccine within the same appointment.

Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases, such as influenza and COVID-19. Be aware that anti-vaccine stories are spread online through social media, which may not be based on scientific evidence. Read why vaccination is safe and important.

Flu vaccinations for children under five

Hospitalisation rates for flu are currently highest among those aged under five. Therefore, it is more important than ever to get young children vaccinated against flu this year.

National data shows that flu is now circulating at higher levels than recent winter seasons. Young children are particularly vulnerable to the flu and can become seriously unwell. Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in the past couple of years, most young children will not have ever encountered flu. This means they will not have built up any natural immunity to this virus, so it is particularly important for them to take up the flu vaccine this year.

The vaccine is a free, quick and easy nasal spray. GP surgeries are inviting children aged two and three years old (age on 31 August 2022) for the nasal spray vaccination at their practices. If you haven’t heard from your GP surgery you should contact them directly to make an appointment. More information on the NHS website.

Are you a carer?

If you are receiving Carers’ Allowance, or are the main carer for an elderly and/or disabled person, who may be put at risk if you become ill, you should consider getting your free flu and COVID-19 vaccinations to protect those you care for and yourself.

More information

Cold weather can make some health problems worse and some people (including those aged 65 and older, babies and children under the age of five, people with a disability or long-term health condition, and people who cannot afford heating) are among those who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of cold weather.

As well as looking after ourselves and making sure we stay warm and healthy during the winter, we can also look out for our neighbours, friends and loved ones during cold weather, for example by checking in on them to make sure they have shopping and medications.

Keep your home warm, efficiently and safely, by:

  • contacting Green Doctors for advice (if you are on benefits, of state-pension age or live with a disability or long-term health condition) on 0300 365 3005 or visit the Green Doctors page
  • heating your home to at least 18°C in winter poses minimal risk to your healthwhen you are wearing suitable clothing
  • getting your heating system and cooking appliances checked and keeping your home well ventilated
  • using your electric blanket as instructed and getting it tested every three years – never use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket
  • not using a gas cooker or oven to heat your home; it is inefficient and there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and this can kill
  • making sure you have a supply of heating oil or LPG or solid fuel if you are not on mains gas or electricity – to make sure you do not run out in winter

Keep in the warmth by:

  • fitting draught proofing to seal any gaps around windows and doors - Green Doctors may be able to help with this
  • making sure you have loft insulation and, if you have cavity walls, making sure they are insulated too
  • insulating your hot water cylinder and pipes
  • drawing your curtains at dusk to help keep heat generated inside your rooms
  • making sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains

Look after yourself by:

  • having plenty of hot food and drinks – food is a vital source of energy and helps to keep your body warm
  • aiming to include five daily portions of fruit and vegetables in your daily diet – tinned and frozen vegetables count toward your five a day
  • stocking up on tinned and frozen foods so you don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy
  • exercising – it’s good for you and it can keep you warm in winter, but remember, if you have any health concerns, speak to your GP practice before starting any exercise plans
  • if possible, trying to move around at least once an hour
  • wearing lots of thin layers – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and maintain body heat
  • wearing good-fitting slippers with a good grip indoors and shoes with a good grip outside to prevent trips, slips and falls
  • making sure you have spare medication in case you are unable to go out
  • checking if you are eligible for inclusion on the priority services register operated by your water and power supplier

Look after others by checking on older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses to make sure they are safe, warm and well. Remember if you provide unpaid help and support to a parent, partner, child, relative, friend or neighbour who could not manage without your help, due to age, physical or mental health issues, substance misuse or disability then you are a carer.

Get financial support. There are grants and benefits available to help you with your bills and sources of advice to make your home more energy efficient. It’s worthwhile claiming all the benefits you are entitled to before winter sets in.

City Advice provides free, expert and confidential advice to residents living in the Square Mile and on City Corporation estates, including advice on money, bills and more. Visit the City Advice website, email City Advice or call 020 7392 2919.

Visit our Getting help with the cost of living page for information about options available to you if you are struggling with heating your home and other money worries.

It's worth claiming all the benefits you're entitled to as soon as winter begins. You can also find out about Government heating and housing benefits.

Cold Weather Payments

The Cold Weather Payments scheme is open from 1 November 2022 and will run until 31 March 2023. These payments are worth £25 for each seven-day period when the temperature falls below zero degrees.

The money goes to people on low incomes who receive a qualifying benefit:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Support for Mortgage Interest

It is possible to receive multiple payments if we have several weeks of freezing weather. Cold Weather Payments should be credited automatically to your bank account. You do not need to apply. If you’re eligible to get a Cold Weather Payment, you’ll be paid it automatically.

Find out more on the Government's website.

Support from your energy supplier

The Priority Services Register is a free support service that makes sure extra help is available to people in vulnerable situations. You may be able to get advance notice of planned power cuts, priority support in an emergency, nominate someone else to receive communications from your supplier and more. 

Visit Ofgem's website for more information.

Our Barbican and Community libraries provide a warm welcome to all. Come in and spend some time with us, read a book, paper, magazine, and take a look at our various exhibitions. You will find all sorts of information and computer terminals for public use as well as support with form filling and basic IT skills help. Find our libraries by visiting the Libraries page.

Managing our mental and physical wellbeing and staying active when it’s cold, dark and raining outside can be a challenge.

There is lots of information and support available, including:

If you run or work for a charity or voluntary organisation, you may be able to apply for up to £2000 to host a 'Warm Space' this winter.

'Warm Spaces' provide a place for everyone to come for warmth, activities and community in a friendly, non-judgemental way that welcomes all.

The fund is awarded through the Stronger Communities Fund (as part of the charity arm of the City Corporation).

Funding is available to new organisations or those that already hold a 'Stronger Communities' grant. This funding is in addition to the existing small grants programme. To make an application visit the Stronger Communities web page.

Organisations with additional questions can email the Grants Team.