With the high cost of heating and increasing numbers of winter deaths caused by the cold, a new initiative has been launched to help older people who live in rural areas save money and stay warm this winter.
OFTEC, the UK trade body for the oil-fired heating industry, has teamed up with Age UK to provide a free winter guide, providing key advice to help older people stay safe and warm.
Excess winter deaths are affecting more and more people in the UK as energy costs continue to rise and many rural homes lack sufficient insulation, putting older residents particularly at risk. The latest statistics from the Office of National Statistics show that winter deaths increased by 29% in 2012-13 to 31,100, of which 28,500 were people over 65.
The information guide includes money saving tips, advice on energy efficiency, oil tank security and useful phone numbers for further help such as finding a local registered technician, together with general advice on staying warm and heating payments and schemes for the over 60’s.
Anyone can order a copy of this winter heating guide, free of charge, by calling OFTEC on Freephone number 0800 023 62 11. Alternatively, a digital copy is available to download at: www.oftec.org.uk
Malcolm Farrow, of OFTEC, said: “We’re delighted to work with Age UK on this project to support older people who live in rural parts of the country and use oil heating. Our new guide provides the information they need to help them get the most out of their heating and stay safe and warm through the coldest part of the year.”
Households that depend on oil tend to be in rural areas off the mains gas supply, and are often older, poorly insulated properties. According to Age UK, a higher proportion of over-65s live in the countryside than in urban areas, so it’s important that as much information is available as possible to help them save money and keep warm.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “Many of the poorest and most vulnerable older people live in rural areas and have to rely on oil heating to keep warm. But with high numbers of older households struggling to afford the fuel they need, it’s essential that people know what they can do to keep their fuel bills low and stay warm and well over the winter months.
“We are pleased to be working with OFTEC to provide information specifically aimed at those who heat their homes via oil-fired central heating systems.”
Malcolm added: “We want to help as many people as possible save money on oil and have made this information available online through the Oilsave campaign, but were very aware that this may not be reaching the most vulnerable group, which is why we’ve worked with Age UK to produce this new printed guide.”