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Issue:- 12 December 2014

United Utilities urges Winter Wise warmth towards older people in Southport

Caption: (L to R) Rachel Powell, United Utilities; Contact the Elderly guest Anneliese (surname withheld by request); and Contact the Elderly North West regional development officer Gwen Lightfoot.

UNITED Utilities is encouraging people in Southport by asking them to extend a little "Winter Wise" warmth towards isolated older people as temperatures start to fall.

As well as helping householders to fight the freeze in their own homes through its Winter Wise campaign, the water company is urging people to support:- 'Contact the Elderly', a national charity tackling isolation among older people by organising regular Sunday afternoon tea parties.

Contact the Elderly is recruiting volunteers and seeking guests in an attempt to build on the strength of its Southport group, which has 17 volunteers and 6 guests. Further groups could be started if there is sufficient interest.

United Utilities has donated £3,000 in DIY store vouchers to the charity which will be used by volunteers from the water company to help Contact the Elderly guests buy pipe lagging materials and other items to prepare their homes for winter.

The partnership is part of the United Utilities Winter Wise campaign to spread practical advice on preventing the misery of a burst frozen pipe.

United Utilities recommends that householders:-

►  Lag pipes so they are much less likely to freeze.

Find and label your stop tap; the tap which controls water supply to your house, so you know where to turn the water off if you do get a burst.

►  Keep the number of a good plumber handy, just in case.

Find out more about becoming a Contact The Elderly volunteer by visiting:- or by getting in touch with North West Development Officer Gwen Lightfoot on:- 01925 728969. You can also send an email.   Further details about becoming a Freeze Fighter, preparing you home for winter and a full list of Winter Wise roadshow dates are available online.

People prepared to #beafreezefighter have already started sharing photographs from the Winter Wise road show on Twitter. Stuart Atkinson, United Utilities water network manager, said:- "We would like as many people as possible to become Freeze Fighters this winter, helping themselves and others to avoid the misery of burst frozen pipes.  As well as encouraging homeowners to fight the freeze in their own homes, through our partnership with Contact the Elderly, we also hope to spread warmth in other ways by highlighting the charity's great work and helping it to recruit volunteers. While frozen pipes are something that people only need to be concerned with in winter, isolation is something which affects many older people all year. Contact the Elderly's volunteers make a real difference."

Supported by a network of volunteers:- 'Contact the Elderly' organises monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people, aged 75 and over, who live alone.   Gwen Lightfoot, North West regional development officer for Contact the Elderly, said:- "Winter is a particularly difficult time for isolated older people. By partnering with United Utilities, we hope to raise awareness and encourage people to come forward and help make a difference.  All we ask from our volunteers is a little of their spare time to either host a tea party in their own home, or drive and accompany guests to a tea party and then deliver them home safely afterwards. It is fantastic to know that the United Utilities volunteers will also be helping older people prepare their homes for winter."

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