Cold weather support and advice
Information about how to stay well in winter, how we're helping rough sleepers and keeping highways gritted.
Staying well this winter
Keeping warm over the winter months can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.
Condensation, damp and mould
There are a few things you can do to help avoid condensation, damp and mould in your home such as:
- keeping kitchen and bathroom doors closed when in use, and if possible opening a window
- adequately heating your home can reduce condensation levels as warmer air holds more water vapour
- drying clothes outside if you can
- using saucepan lids when cooking
- spraying or washing down areas affected by mould with bleach or anti-mould cleaner
If you're eligible it's not too late to get your winter vaccines as viruses increasingly spread and can cause more harm.
Get advice if you feel unwell
If you're 65 or over, or in one of the other at-risk groups, it's important to get medical help as soon as you feel unwell.
You can get help and advice from:
- a pharmacy – pharmacists can give treatment advice for a range of minor illnesses and can tell you if you need to see a doctor
- your GP – you may be able to speak to a GP online or over the phone, or go in for an appointment if they think you need to
- NHS 111 – go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111 if you have an urgent medical problem and you are not sure what to do
Supporting your vulnerable neighbours and loved ones
Keep in touch with your friends, neighbours and family and ask if they need any practical help, or if they're feeling unwell.
There are simple steps they can take to stay warm including:
- trying to heat rooms they use in their home to at least 18°C if they can
- keeping active when indoors
- wearing several layers
- regularly checking the forecast
- ensuring they have enough to eat, drink and any medicines they need
You could also let your neighbours know about Winter in the City, a directory of warm spaces across Westminster.
Supporting people sleeping rough
Our outreach teams work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, helping people sleeping rough off the streets and into accommodation. We commission over 400 supported housing bed spaces and an assessment centre which can sleep up to a further 40.
If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough please alert StreetLink using their app, or via the StreetLink website. This alert will help local outreach teams try to connect with those you are worried about.
If you have immediate concerns about the welfare of somebody sleeping rough please dial 999.
Winter in the City
This autumn and winter, Westminster has a variety of free community and cultural activities for residents to enjoy. All will take place in warm and safe locations around the city.
Gritting and roads
When it's particularly cold we grit our roads to protect them from frost and ice. We have a barn filled with 1,500 tonnes of salt ready to go.
In order to create a safe environment for our residents, businesses, and visitors, we have the following equipment to combat the slippery roads caused by ice, frost, or snow:
- 7 gritting vehicles to spread salt on the roads
- nearly 200 salt bins strategically located on the street that sweepers use to grit pavements
- a store of 1,500 tonnes of salt in reserve
Not everywhere can be treated immediately at the same time, so we plan for high priority areas first such as:
- steep gradients
- bus routes
- areas outside transport hubs
- outside fire and police stations
- nursing homes
Published: 5 January 2024
Last updated: 22 January 2024