Thousands of vulnerable people across Bradford and Airedale are set to benefit from an initiative aimed at keeping them warm and well this winter.

First Contact, which is designed to banish suffering and hardship caused by the cold weather, will see duvets, bedding, hats, gloves and shoes given to those identified as being at risk.

It will also distribute food parcels to the most needy in the community, as well as offering advice on fuel debt, how to make homes more energy efficient, and home fire safety checks.

The referral scheme is funded by Bradford Council through its Warm Homes Healthy People Partnership.

It is co-ordinated by the Shipley-based charity, Carers’ Resource, and supported by four ‘key community partners’ – Bradford and Airedale Citizens’ Advice Bureaux, Bradford Environmental Action Trust, Inn Churches and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

“First Contact aims to link up services to reduce the risks associated with winter,” said Saiuqa Raney, who is leading the initiative on behalf of the Carers’ Resource. “Our focus is to provide real, immediate and direct help to the most needy and vulnerable.”

The programme, which runs until the end of March, will aim to cater for people aged 75 or over who are frail, suffering from arthritis, have limited mobility, are at risk of falls, or are elderly and living on their own.

People with pre-existing heart or respiratory illnesses or other chronic medical conditions, those who suffer from severe mental illness, dementia or learning difficulties, families with young children, and households living in deprived circumstances or fuel debt will also be given high priority. Julia Burrows, the Council’s consultant in public health, said: “First Contact forms the gateway into the Warm Homes Healthly People Programme for people vulnerable to cold weather. It allows them to access a range of services from different agencies via a single point of contact. This includes access to warm clothes and bedding, food parcels, and advice on keeping your home warmer and more fuel efficient.”

Carers’ Resource is working with its partner organisations to circulate the referral forms across the district, and a simple checklist is used to highlight the needs of individuals and point them towards the support they are entitled to. Full eligibility criteria can be found by visiting, and the referral form can also be completed online. Further information is on (01274) 449660.