Older people in Hertfordshire are receiving donations of hats, gloves and blankets to help them keep warm this winter. The ‘Warm in winter’ bags are being delivered by Small Acts of Kindness, a Hertfordshire-based charity which aims to reduce loneliness and isolation for older people.

The deliveries have been made possible by volunteers giving their time and donations, including from the CareTech Foundation.

Each year, Small Acts of Kindness gives away thousands of warm in winter bags containing blankets, hats, gloves, a mug, hot drinks and soup to be distributed in winter. This year the charity has received an additional donation of £2,500 from the CareTech Foundation which will provide for an extra 100 of the bags.

To date, the scheme has helped 16,500 older people to keep the cold away in winter, in many cases allowing recipients to avoid having to make the unimaginably difficult choice between eating and heating their homes. Demand for the service has soared in recent years. In 2014, 50 bags were delivered to older people in Hertfordshire, last year the organisation distributed 6,500. Keeping warm in winter is not only about comfort; older people who are cold in their home are more likely to have higher blood pressure, leading to an increased risk of suffering heart attacks, strokes and falls.

It is estimated that one in five older people spends every day without talking to someone, meaning up to 50,000 people in Hertfordshire alone. Small Acts of Kindness was founded in 2014 to tackle loneliness and isolation. Not only do the warm in winter bags help to stop older people getting cold in their homes, but the programme also raises awareness of the issue, and the gifts create opportunities to build new social connections within communities.

Lynne Misner, CEO of Small Acts of Kindness, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to receive this funding which will go directly to help older people in our community keep warm this winter. The Small Acts of Kindness Team and Trustees extend a huge thank you to the CareTech Foundation for their support of our work and for connecting communities with kindness.”

Jonathan Freeman, CEO of the CareTech Foundation, said:

“It is a sad reality that at this time of year many of the most vulnerable in society are facing winter cold and alone. It is, therefore, a privilege to be able to play our part in tackling this issue by supporting Small Acts of Kindness, whose inspirational work is an example for us all.”