THOUSANDS of people across the North-East are to benefit from a cash injection of £1.6m of Government money to help them stay safe and well during the cold winter months.

Councils in the region will receive a share of the Warm Homes, Healthy People fund.

This will help them run innovative schemes to help vulnerable people keep warm and safe and prevent avoidable trips to hospital during the winter months.

Loading article content

Some of the activities receiving funding include: sending an information pack and referral booklet with room thermometers to 15,000 at-risk homes in Gateshead; carrying out home visits to 1,000 particularly vulnerable people to give cold weather advice as well as training 15 winter wardens to deliver of good quality winter advice.

Cash is also going to pay for energy advice and home checks for people across County Durham to help them understand how to reduce fuel bills and increase energy efficiency.

Emergency funding will also be available to the most at-risk residents.

The payments were unveiled alongside an announcement by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, that local authorities will be identifying areas where older people suffer most acutely from loneliness.

This will help tackle the growing problem of isolation, which can increase the risk of heart disease, blood clots, and makes it more likely that people will exercise less and drink more.

Funding in the region ranged from a payment of 24,000 to Darlington Borough Council to an allocation of 568,000 to County Durham.