On Tuesday 31st January 2023, many of our service users attended our Staying Warm This Winter Event which we held at Bob Jones Community Hub, Wolverhampton. The purpose of this event was to introduce our Energy Assistance Programme.
One of the main triggers for a sickle cell crisis is getting cold and increasing fuel costs meant maintaining a home warm enough to avoid a crisis was becoming challenging for many service users. Therefore staying warm, eating well, drinking plenty of water and avoiding stress are recommended by healthcare professionals as a preventative strategy.
In the few months leading up to this event, we saw an increased request for support with energy bills. We are aware that this client group are more susceptible to feeling the cold and the consequences can be life critical. In addition to being at high risk of harm from the cold, the condition can also put people at risk of periods with no income whatsoever.
We were lucky to have this event attended by Michael Hardacre, the Deputy Mayor for Wolverhampton. This event was also attended by a handful of guest speakers. Warmer Homes, West Midlands were there to offer advice to our service users on ways to keep themselves and their homes warm at a low cost. We also had Nadine from the Financial Wellbeing Team at Wolverhampton City Council attend the event. She provided plenty of information on community shops, warm spaces and further support available through the council. Natalie also spoke at our event about the importance of eating healthy with sickle cell disease and ways to do so.
To help those affected by Sickle cell and Thalassaemia stay warm, we offered all service users who attended the event a free Winter Warm Pack. This was a selection of items up to the value of £100 that would help to keep themselves and their family warm and well. At the event, service users were able to fill out a form to request the items that would benefit them most.
After the event, all those who attended and others who were eligible received their warm packs. This saw 78 individuals and families receive a range of items from cosy blankets and coats to duvets and slow cookers.
"I needed a slow cooker for the longest, always couldn’t manage to buy it. However, the warm pack made it a success"- Parent of an affected child, Wolverhampton
"The warm pack was £100 which goes a long way in getting my son a warm coat, hot water bottle, two thermo wear, having enough money to buy fruits and vegetables"- Parent of an affected child, Wolverhampton
"(The warm pack) really helped all the household, especially £70 Tesco grocery vouchers that I used to buy food and the cash I had to buy food I have used it to add gas and electricity"- Parent of an affected child, Wolverhampton
Thank you to the Bob Jones Community Hub, guest speakers and National Grid for making this event and the warm packs possible.