WISK - Winter Intervention Support Kent

Organizations/stakeholders involved: Kent County Council, NHS Kent and Medway, Age UK, In Touch Home Improvement Agency, Swale Borough Council (Staying Put Home Improvement Agency).

Start: November 2012 - March 2013

The programme targets vulnerable older people (people over 70 years old with an underlying heart or lung condition) who are at risk of poor health due to cold temperatures and offer support that can help alleviate their risk. It consists of a range of interventions including home visits to vulnerable people that focus on offering advice on energy efficiency measures. Examples of energy efficiency measures include a home assessment, loft clearance and insulation, draught reduction measures and energy tariff checks. People will also be advised as to what benefit support they could be entitled to in order to maximise their income.


Telecare in the form of cold weather alarms is also offered to clients. The cold weather alarms work by alerting a support call centre if the clients' home falls below a specific temperature. The support call centre will then call the client to check if they are ok and need any further support.

A winter warmth support fund has been established to offer instant emergency support to people. The type of support that the fund is used for includes the purchase of blankets, warm clothing, heaters and home repairs that will make the home warmer such as fixing a broken window.

People are also offered emergency support from Age UK when it is particularly cold to minimise their need to go outdoors. This support includes grocery shopping, collecting prescriptions and transporting people to medical appointments.

Age UK are undertaking training around increasing the awareness of the risk that cold temperatures can have on health and what actions can be taken. This is being delivered across Kent to a range of professionals.


The programme was also in operation in a similar format last winter, although it did not include telecare.  In total, 652 people received a home visit and were offered support from the Home Improvement Agency.


Improving the understanding of how best to help 45 - 65 year older people to maintain their good health.


A Suffolk County Council led consortium - including partners from Spain, Denmark, Germany and Italy - has been awarded €375k from the EU's PROGRESS Programme to improve understanding of how best to help 45 - 65 year older people maintain their good health. The PROGRESS 2WARDS HEALTHY AGEING IN EUROPE project will involve universities, public authorities & health services from across Suffolk working with international partners to develop and uncover innovative approaches to healthy ageing.


The project has already begun to identify businesses to help deliver the  project goals through the promotion of workplace based health initiatives. A Transnational Conference: ‘The Healthy Ageing of your Workforce. Why is it important and what can be done?’ took place in July 2012 and was attended by over 100 delegates. It placed a special emphasis on the role of workplace health in ensuring that individuals age healthily. The event saw several senior figures from the business, health and public authority sectors in Suffolk discuss the subject with national and global experts as well as organisations from across Europe with a particular interest in healthy ageing. The event was just one component of the ‘Progress’ project that will seek to capitalise on the learning from the event and help to deliver real improvements in the health of older people across Europe. An evaluation of the event is being undertaken by University Campus Suffolk, another project partner.