Thousands of vulnerable people in Airedale and across Bradford 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 charity, Carers’ Resource, and supported by four 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. “The initiative is designed to keep vulnerable people in Bradford and Airedale warm and well over the coming months.

“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.

Julia Burrows, the council’s consultant in public health, said: “First Contact forms the gateway into the Warm Homes Healthy People Partnership 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.”

Full eligibility criteria can be found at contact, and the referral form can also be completed online. Further information can also be accessed by calling 01274 449660.