Stockton Council is celebrating after winning an award for its efforts to protect the Borough's most vulnerable residents during the winter months.
Last night (13 September) it was announced the Local Authority had won the prestigious APSE (Association of Public Service Excellence) Award.
It recognises the innovative partnership work the Council carries out with health and voluntary and community organisations to increase people's resilience and reduce the risk of winter deaths, particularly among older people and those with underlying health conditions.
Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Health, Councillor Jim Beall, said: "The health and well-being of our residents really is at the heart of everything we do and this award recognises that.
"Our officers are all highly dedicated and want the best for our Borough's residents and that's why we work so hard with all of our partners to offer this package of support to our most vulnerable.
"I'm delighted they have been recognised for their fantastic efforts which are aiming to reduce winter deaths and helping our residents live longer, healthy and happy lives."
The Council works with health, social care, housing and voluntary and community organisations to offer a whole range of support through the Stockton Warm Homes Healthy People scheme.
It includes a handyman service, boiler servicing and repair as well as energy, fuel, debt and benefits advice.
The scheme also sees home insulation and temperature sensors installed and encourages people to take up healthy lifestyle activities. Residents can also receive falls assessments and are encouraged to take up flu and pneumococcal vaccinations to help them stay healthy during the winter months. A volunteer 'buddying' service provides reassurance to people living alone and emergency assistance through the Cleveland Fire Brigade Stay Safe and Warm Campaign can also be accessed.
The support has received plenty of praise from the many residents who have benefitted from it.
One arthritis sufferer from Stockton said: "“I was very worried before and had no hot water but now it’s all done. I was relieved and grateful for the help I received.”
Meanwhile one Thornaby resident said: “The Handy Person service is great. They have helped me a lot. I am 80 years old now and there are lots of little things I can't do.”
Stockton Council was also short-listed for the Council of the Year Award for the third year in a row.
Anyone who would like to find out more about Stockton's Warm Homes Health People project or the volunteer buddying scheme should visit www.stockton.gov.uk/warmhomes.
If you need emergency help with heating out of hours you can contact the Fire Brigade on their 24 hours helpline number 01429 874063.