Norwich Evening News launches Cold Weather Friends Campaign

Early winter snow covers part of Norwich as seen from St James Hill.Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Early winter snow covers part of Norwich as seen from St James Hill.Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

The winter chill is upon us – and that means potential misery for some of our most vulnerable neighbours.

So the Norwich Evening News has joined forces with Age UK Norwich to ensure older people have a friend in need when the ice and snow arrive – through the Cold Weather Friends campaign.

Last winter saw dozens of older people in the city - those who don't have a family member, friend or other care support to step in - twinned with volunteers ready to call on them if there is a freeze.

And now for the second year, we are putting out the call to isolated elderly people to sign up, so they won't be left struggling, or worrying, if deep snow or ice make it unsafe to risk a trip to the shops.

With the help of Age UK training, the volunteers - who included more than 15 from Archant, publisher of the Norwich Evening News, as well as other city businesses - were ready to call round, if necessary, with essential food supplies or medicines.

Age UK Norwich chief executive, Susan Ringwood said: 'This really is community in action, and we are delighted to be teaming up with the Norwich Evening News once again to run the appeal. Last year, older people told us how much it took the worry out of winter, just to know we were there.

'Falls are one of the major reasons why older people end up in hospital, and a broken hip, for example, can be life-changing for an older person. So we are determined to help prevent people facing unnecessary risks when the temperature drops.

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'This is a case where a little bit of short-term help, over a few days, can make a real difference, which is why we're also putting out a call for extra people to help us as volunteers.'

The charity is asking older people who live alone to call now on 01603 496333, and register. They will be twinned with a volunteer who will contact them to introduce themselves, and then be on standby to call if the weather reaches Met Office Level Three conditions - heavy snow and/or widespread ice.

An estimated 8,000 older people live alone in Norwich. And, while many of them can call on other help, too many have no one to turn to.

That is why the charity is also putting out an appeal for extra volunteers to provide this short-term support.

Ms Ringwood said: 'We will be matching our volunteers with older people who live nearby, and we will give all volunteers support, guidance and full back-up from our staff.'

The latest forecast for the few days ahead indicates that while there is little chance of snow there will be some chilly mornings, with night time temperatures of around 2C, which may drop to close to freezing by the weekend.

So if you are an older person, call now on 01603 496333 to register, or email

And if you are interested in volunteering, use the same contact details to find out more.