Winter Watch 2021/22

C&C
C&C

Every winter brings additional risks to our physical and mental health. This winter, there are additional pressures caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the unprecedented challenges it has caused, coupled with significant rises in energy bills.

As a result, there is a greater need than ever to look after ourselves, keep safe, stay warm, act energy-efficiently, stay connected to family and friends, and mitigate the risks of Covid-19 and other seasonal illnesses.

It seems a lot to take in. But C&C will do everything we can to support you both inside and outside your home.

This page carries a number of tips, signposts you to other organisations who can help on a variety of matters, and the latest policies we have put in place to help you over the winter period.

Don’t forget, our housing teams are available to support you across all our sheltered housing schemes, while you can call our repairs team at any time should you need something fixing.


Keeping you safe: Our Covid-19 protocols

With cases of Covid-19 remaining at a high level, we continue to do all we can to make our homes as protected from the virus circulating as possible.

Of course, there are individual actions that you can take as well as those that will help protect both you and your fellow residents.

Women standing at window
  • Continue wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed settings. We require residents and C&C colleagues to wear masks in communal areas, such as hallways and stairs.
  • Maintain social distancing at all times.
  • Meet outdoors when it is safe enough to do so (and wrap up warm).
  • When meeting inside your home, keep windows and doors open for ventilation.
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser throughout the day.
  • Get your booster vaccination against Covid-19 as and when you are called to do so.
  • Try to stay at home if you are feeling unwell – and get tested.
  • Free lateral flow (rapid) testing kits are available from the NHS. Visit uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests or your nearest pharmacy.
  • Self-isolate if you test positive for Covid-19. Inform a service officer over the phone if you have symptoms or receive a positive test.
  • Get the flu jab. While flu and Covid-19 are separate conditions, the combination of catching both can be particularly dangerous. You are entitled to a flu jab for free if over the age of 65 or have a long-term health condition. Your GP surgery or a local pharmacy should be able to provide this.
  • Providing a varied programme of online activities in addition to in-person events.
  • Keeping our communal spaces (such as lounges) well-ventilated and with a permanent availability of hand sanitiser.
  • Restricting indoor organised activities to a maximum number of 7 residents (or less at smaller schemes).
  • Undertaking deep cleaning of surrounding and communal areas when we learn of a positive test.
  • Keeping guest rooms at our schemes closed due to the high costs associated with deep cleaning, which would be necessary following any guest visit.

C&C is also constantly monitoring the current national and local situation with regards to Covid-19 cases. Should the situation deteriorate, such as an outbreak of Covid-19 at an individual scheme, we will immediately implement additional measures.


Keeping you warm: managing your energy through the winter

Our number one priority is to keep you and your home warm throughout the winter. However, rising gas and electricity prices are set to have an impact on resident service charges in the new year. These charges are directly related to energy usage at your scheme.

Therefore, there is a balance to be managed between using energy to keep you warm and safe, and not wasting energy unnecessarily. Again, there are things that you can do to help mitigate the energy price rises, and things that C&C is working hard to do to make your home as energy-efficient as possible.

We are also conscious that some residents have their own energy supply along with the central supplies provided by C&C, and so some of these tips relate to keeping down your own personal energy bill.

  • If you are less mobile, 65 or over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease, you should heat your home to at least 18°.
  • Keep bedrooms at 18°C all night if you can – and keep bedroom windows closed.
  • Use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed – but do not use both at the same time.
  • Have at least one hot meal a day – eating regularly helps keep you warm.
  • Have hot drinks regularly.
  • Stock up on tinned and frozen foods, so that you don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy.
  • When you are not entertaining guests (and therefore the Covid-19 risk is lower), please shut doors, windows and curtains as this can help retain heat inside your home.
  • Claim the Winter Fuel Allowance and Warm Home Discount if you are eligible. You should receive this automatically if you receive the State Pension or certain social security benefits, but there are some circumstances where those receiving other benefits may be able to make a claim. The uk/winter-fuel-payment website carries more details on this.
  • Don't leave kitchen appliances on standby.
  • Defrost your fridge freezer regularly – as they otherwise use more power than they should.
  • Use the right sized pan to cook with; don't use more heat than you need to.
  • Boil only as much water as you need.
  • If you are able to, have a shower rather than a bath as they are faster, cheaper, and more efficient.
  • Check if your radiators need bleeding - this removes trapped air that would stop them working as efficiently as they should. This article offers some useful pointers as to whether you need to bleed your radiators - and our housing and repairs teams can help with the bleeding itself.
  • Shut curtains, as this can help keep rooms warm.
  • Use energy saving lightbulbs such as LEDs - these use 90% less energy and could reduce electricity bills significantly.
  • Our in-house specialists on welfare benefits have already helped residents receive over £65,000 in benefits. If you think they may be able to help you, please call 0207 922 5300 or complete the form on our website.
  • We have entered into new contracts for gas and electricity suppliers, fixing our prices with these suppliers until Easter 2023 (although the cost we pay is directly impacted by energy usage at schemes).
  • We are working hard to ensure that communal spaces are working as energy-efficiently as possible.
  • Our repairs team are on hand to help if you have heating or hot water problems, or indeed a variety of other repairs needed. We recently made it even easier to contact the team via a form on the C&C website. You can also call 0800 121 8742 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm) or our emergency repairs line outside of these hours on 0800 533 5719.
  • There are a variety of external organisations offering tips to cut your electricity bill (for those residents who have their own supplier in addition to C&C’s central offering). These can be found below.

Keeping you connected: helping stave off isolation and loneliness.

It’s so important for our physical and mental health to engage with others where we can, particularly during the winter months when it may be harder to do so.

C&C is committed to helping residents keep in touch – with friends and family, with each other, and with C&C ourselves.

Isolation And Lonliness Report Mock Image

Last winter we published our first ‘Isolation and Loneliness’ report, speaking with 250 of you about the impact Covid-19 had on connecting with other people, and what strategies residents had put in place to manage these feelings. You can read the report and hear from some of our residents here. We will be repeating the exercise, although this year we will also focus towards what partner organisations can and are doing to help people avoid isolation and loneliness.

  • Reach out to family and friends to ensure you are well supported. Try to see people regularly, or if you can't get out pick up the phone when you fancy a chat, or making it a regular part of your routine, it's so important to stay connected this winter, try using the internet to keep in touch with people wherever they are.
  • Try and get out and about each day if you are well enough to do so.
  • Try not to sit still for more than an hour at a time. Even a little bit of activity from time to time can help maintain strength and mobility. Do some light exercise and/or join in a fitness class.
  • Engage in a hobby or special interest you may have.
  • Eat well. It's a good idea to keep your cupboards stocked with some basics just in case you can't get out to the shops – whether due to illness or bad weather. A healthy and balanced diet will help you feel your best. It’s important to stay hydrated too, hot drinks in the cold weather is a great way to help staying warm.
  • Be a good neighbour. Look out for other residents and make our staff or other relevant organisations aware if a neighbour needs help.
  • Engage with C&C’s varied activites and events programme, which offers cultural, artistic, fitness and music classes to suit everyone’s tastes. Why not try something new this winter?
  • We aim to check in with all residents on ‘winter readiness’. This includes checking your heating and hot water is working correctly, and that you have the access and means to get food shopping in.
  • Our onsite teams aim to deliver as many face to face visits as possible to check in with you over the winter period.
  • As part of our calls led by staff volunteers, we will ask questions aimed at better understanding and measuring feelings of isolation and loneliness that you may have. This will help inform our report but also where we may be able to assist you.
  • We will provide broader tips on managing isolation and loneliness as part of our report.
  • We will continue to deliver our broad range of activities and events both in-person and online.
  • We can issue food bank vouchers to any resident who needs them.
C&C
C&C

Broader support and useful links

  • Service Hub: call 020 7922 5300 or use the form on our website.
  • Repairs Line: call 0800 121 8742 between 9am-5pm Monday-Friday, or report a repair on our website.
  • Emergency (Out of Hours) Repairs Line: call 0800 533 5719 if your repair is an emergency (only in operation outside of 9am-5pm Monday-Friday; please call the general repairs line during these times)
  • Anti-social Behaviour (ASB) Respect Line: call 0800 075 6699
  • Turn 2 Us: for finding local advice and support.
  • Citizens Advice: For accessing foodbank vouchers and help from trained volunteers.
  • Money Helper: for help with personal finances.
  • Samaritans: for anyone feeling particularly down, depressed or in need of help. Call 116 123 (free phone).
  • NHS 111: for anyone seeking non-urgent medical help. Call 111 (free phone).
  • Silver Line: a free 24-hour helpline for older people. Call 0800 470 8090.
  • British Red Cross: provides support to people returning home from hospital. Call 0344 871 1111.
  • Independent Age: provides a free helpline for older people, including advice for getting help at home and staying independent. They also offer a free bereavement guide for those coping with the loss of a loved one. Call 0800 319 678.
  • Carers UK: provides help for carers and give expert advice, information and support. Call 020 7378 4999.
  • Reengage: offers a free phone service to anyone missing out on a regular friendly chat. Reengage will also do their best to pair you with someone with shared interests, and are hoping to restart their famous tea parties soon! Call 0800 716 543 (free phone).
  • Age UK: provides advice lines, befriending services and a variety of online information for older people. Call 0800 055 6112 (free phone).
  • Barclays: offer digital courses to help and support you online.
  • Community Links: provides services including debt, welfare and benefits advice. Call 0207 473 9681 or advice@community-links.org
  • Camden AGE UK: for accessing benefits, housing and other services. Call 020 7837 3777 Mon-Fri 10am-4pm.
  • Haringey Community Mental Health Team: for support for over-65s experiencing mental health difficulties. Call 020 8702 6300.
  • Moneysupermarket: article on how to avoid fuel poverty.
  • Money Saving Expert: has a special page on energy bills including its ‘Cheap Energy Club’ for those aiming to cut their bills.
  • This is Money: several articles related to keeping bills lower.
  • Green Camden Helpline: for advice on savings energy, dealing with fuel debt etc). Call 0800 801 738 (free phone Mon-Fri 9am-5pm).
  • SHINE energy advice service: for keeping warm and reducing anxiety of large fuel bills. Call 0300 555 0195 or contact@shine-london.org.uk
  • Citizens Advice: for residents with their own electricity supply in addition to C&C’s communal supplies, you may find these tips helpful in terms of getting support from your energy supplier.
  • Ofgem: you may be eligible to be added to the Priority Services Register, meaning your energy supplier would give you extra support in the event of power cuts or emergency supply issues.
  • EDF: useful information about gas safety and knowing your rights in the energy market.
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