Cold-blooded Killer

For older people, keeping warm in winter is not just about comfort – it is about staying healthy. So the Forum has teamed up with HEET to help cut fuel bills

Every year, more people die in the winter than the summer. Cold temperatures affect blood flow, making it thicker, more sticky and more likely to clot.

Once you start shivering, blood is sent to internal organs, which can overload them. At the same time, blood vessels constrict to help conserve body heat, which not only raises blood pressure but also creates a narrower space for blood to circulate.

So we can see that keeping warm is as much about keeping healthy – and alive – as it is about feeling comfortable.

The problem is that keeping warm can be expensive. More than 15,600 homes in Enfield are classified as being fuel poor – that’s over 12.6% of all homes in the borough – and up 11% on the previous year.

So the Forum is teaming up with HEET, a non-profit-making charity to offer free help to all householders this coming winter.

A household is said to be in fuel poverty when families cannot afford to keep adequately warm at a reasonable cost, because their income is often too low to both heat their home and eat.

Cold homes contribute to 56 deaths in Enfield, on average, each winter. Eight times this number are admitted to hospital. Once treated, these patients are usually discharged back to the home that made them ill in the first place because they live in a hard-to-heat home.

HEET is particularly keen to help families whose health may be at risk from living in a cold home. It aims to help us stay warm, save money on our fuel bills and cut carbon emissions that cause climate change.

If you find it hard to keep your home comfortably warm, someone from HEET can carry out a free home energy visit.

At this visit they can:

  • Install free simple energy-saving measures such as LED light bulbs and draught-proofing
  • Check if you are on the best energy tariff
  • Arrange a free money advice consultation, including help with fuel debts
  • Arrange a free gas safety check or boiler repair
  • Help you find funding for further energy-saving home improvements
  • Answer your questions about smart meters

A typical visit saves householders about £200 on their annual fuel bill. Some households save a lot more than this if they qualify for larger measures such as a boiler replacement.

A HEET representative will be present at our Dugdale Centre advice sessions every Monday between 10am and 12 noon throughout October and November commencing on Monday 7 October. You can also contact HEET by calling 020 8520 1900 or emailing