A SWINDON plumbing and heating company has signed up to an initiative that aims to help keep pensioners warm in the winter.

Priory Heating is now a member of the Disabled and Elderly Free Plumbing and Heating Service. This is a community interest company which works with the elderly and disabled people in the community to offer free and discounted services.

Based in Burnley, DEPHER hopes to roll out the scheme nationally to prevent older people suffering from ill health or even dying when they get too cold in their homes during the winter months.

Liza Van Zyl, co-founder of the Garsington Drive business, said: “As engineers working around the Swindon area, we’re very much aware of the health problems which arise during the cold weather, including colds, flu and the risk or hypothermia.

“We are also well aware that some pensioners try to save money by turning down their heating in cold weather.

"We’ve become increasingly aware of this struggle for some of our elderly clients who are having to make a choice between keeping warm during the winter months and paying their other bills on a fixed and limited income.”

The team had recently visited an elderly couple in Swindon whose boiler had broken down and found they were using electric heaters to keep their home warm.

Liza and business partner Oli Royall spoke to their suppliers and were able to replace the couple’s boiler free of charge.

She added: “What they needed was a new boiler, however affording it was simply out of the question.

“We did our best to keep them warm in the short term but we knew we had to do something more to help them.

“We chatted to them about what was needed and put them at ease saying we would soon have them warm.”

According to the Office for National Statistics, from the December to March 2018/19 there were an estimated 23,300 excess winter deaths in England and Wales.

Of those cases, 46 per cent were men and 54 per cent were women.

Oli added: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank our suppliers Baxi and Vaillant for their help.”