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Keep warm and well

  • Public health

Help your neighbours

We need your help to make sure vulnerable Barnet residents stay warm and well this winter.

Share this Keep Warm and Well fact sheet (PDF) with friends and family who may be vunerable. Print this out and give it to those who don't have access to the internet.

Check on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they're safe and well. Make sure they're warm enough, especially at night, and have stocks of food and medicines so they don't need to go out during very cold weather.

If you know of someone who you are worried about keeing warm over the winter, you can refer them to us by using the link below.

What can you do to keep warm and well

Here are some simple things you can do to keep warm, stay healthy and make the best use of your heating at home.

Keep your house at a healthy temperature. For a healthy adult your main living room should be between 18-21°C (64-70F), this recommendation is slightly warmer for elderly people at temperatures around 21°C (70F). Other areas of the house should be kept at a minimum of 16°C (61F).  You can also use a hot-water bottle, or layers of blankets to keep warm while you're in bed. Keep all doors shut to prevent draughts and pull your curtains at dusk to keep the heat inside. If your radiator is in front of the window, tuck them behind it

Have regular hot drinks and soups. Why not go to one of Age UK Barnet's coffee mornings. Or if you can't get out, use their befriending service to have someone over for a hot drink and a chat.

Wear several layers of clothes. Several layers are better than one thick layer, as warmth from your body is trapped between layers. Always wear hats, gloves and scarves. If possible, stay inside during a cold period if you have heart or breathing problems

Keep active. Move around at least once every hour and avoid sitting down for long periods of time. Even light exercise will help keep you warm

In an emergency

Barnet Council’s Social Care Direct is able to offer assistance to vulnerable Barnet Residents in an emergency situation. Where there is someone vulnerable in your household and emergency heating measures are required please call social care direct on 020 8359 5000 or 020 8359 2000 in an out of hours situation.

If you smell gas call National Grid Gas Emergencies line straight away on 0800 111 999 (this is a 24 hour emergency line).

  • open your windows and doors to let air in
  • make sure all gas appliances are turned off
  • turn the gas off at the mains if possible
  • don't turn lights on or off and avoid using other electrical switches and appliances.
  • don't smoke, light a match or any other naked flame.
  • don't try and investigate the problem or attempt to fix a leak or a faulty appliance.


Get your jabs. If you are over 65, or have longstanding health problems make sure you get a flu jab every year to protect you from flu. You should also have the pneumococcal jab, which is given once and protects you against infections caused by the pneumococcus bug such as pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia.

If you regularly come into contact with someone who is vulnerable, it is sensible to get a flu jab so that you will reduce the risk of being a flu carrier and infecting them.

Take care outside

Take extra care in icy conditions if you go out - wear boots or shoes with good grip on the soles. The Met Office advises putting grit or cat litter on paths and driveways to minimise the risk of slipping.

You should also wait until the roads have been gritted if you're travelling by car. The Highways Agency offers useful advice on travelling in snow and freezing conditions.

Bear in mind that black ice on pavements or roads might not be clearly visible, and that compacted snow may turn to ice and become slippery.

If you have a neighbour who would struggle to clear their path offer to help them. Barnet Council encourages residents to form partnerships to grit their footways in these conditions. Follow our advice for clearing snow and ice on public footways.

If you are not able to join in this partnership, why not join the Barnet Boroughwatch to create a strong, caring, community spirit.

Small household repairs

If you're over 60 and need small household repairs like draught excluders,  call Age UK Handy Person Scheme on 020 8150 0963.

Help with bills or damaged heating systems

Does one of the following apply to you?

  • disabled
  • had a stroke
  • suffer from coronary heart disease
  • suffer from chronic bronchitis emphysema or asthma
  • had falls in the home

And do any of the following apply:

  • You struggle to afford heating bills resulting in turning the heating off
  • You have no heating or it doesn’t work
  • Your home is drafty
  • You stay in bed to keep warm

You may be eligible for assistance from the council or the government or financial relief schemes please see the types of assistance below

Winter Well Grants and other types of assistance 

To apply for a grant you must have a vulnerability to excessively cold housing and a long term health condition, please call 020 8359 7441 or email winterwell@barnet.gov.uk For more grants and assistance available to Barnet residents, please see Grants and Funding.

If you rent your home and there's a serious defect which has not been dealt with by the landlord, please call private sector housing on 020 8359 7995.

Some residents may additionally be eligible for assistance through the Energy Company Obligation scheme. Click here to find energy grants and ways to improve your energy efficiency.

Financial assistance

You can get advice on financial hardships and many other topics from the Citizens Advice Bureaux . Additionally charis are able to offer relief and schemes to support those who are struggling financially. To see if you are able to apply visit Charis.

Sign up to the BLES (Big London Energy Switch) - On average Barnet households who switched last June with the BLES saved £284 per year. The BLES is a price drop competition amongst energy companies. Whoever drops their price the lowest gets their offer sent out to all the households who signed up to the switch. There is no obligation for these households to switch energy company (BLES) but if the offer is cheaper than their current tariff, it is easy and simple to do. It costs nothing to switch.

Barnet Homes assistance

If you are a Barnet Homes tenant and you have an issue with your heating, please call Barnet Homes on 080 0389 5225 or email Talk2Us@barnethomes.org

Priority services registers

In the event of a gas, water or electricity cut, if you have a particular vulnerability, you can register on a priority services register. This means you go on record as needing additional assistance. Each provider has a slightly different set of requirements to qualify for their register, but these are usually vulnerabilities such as disabilities, and ages, young or old. To see if your provider will facilitate you assistance in an outage, follow the relevant links below or contact them.

The British Red Cross

The British Red Cross is one of the charities which, in the case of an emergency will be there to offer assistance to those who are signed up to the priority services register. Visit the the British Red Cross' website to see the good work they do.


  • Private Sector Housing
  • London Borough of Barnet, Barnet House, 1255 High Road, Whetstone, London N20 0EJ
  • Tel: 020 8359 7441
  • Email: winterwell@barnet.gov.uk

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