Cold weather advice

For more advice about winter weather, gritting and disruptions visit our winter and gritting page.

Health advice in cold weather

It is important you think about how cold weather this winter may affect you, your family and your home. As temperatures drop, you need to keep warm and well. Cold weather can lead to serious health problems and even kill. 

Looking out for yourself and others is essential to keeping healthy. Check weather forecasts and plan the day around them. Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18ºC, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over.

Find the right NHS service for you by visiting our NHS Healthcare Services page.

Who is most at risk?

  • Older age, especially those who are 65 and over.
  • Those living on their own who are socially isolated
  • Those who are vulnerable to cold, partly due to an underlying chronic and severe illness such as heart conditions, circulatory disease, asthma, depression and anxiety, diabetes and arthritis
  • People with symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19 and those recovering from COVID-19
  • Pregnant women and children under the age of five.
  • Homeless people and rough sleepers
  • People in households experiencing fuel poverty (those who have a low income but have high energy costs)
  • People living in houses with mould or in deprived circumstances

Please check in on family, friends and neighbours who are vulnerable, during winter weather.

Top tips keep yourself healthy and your home warm this winter:

  • Stay healthy by eating well and being active – making time to spend with friends and family.
  • You may not feel thirsty in cold weather, but it’s important to have plenty of hot or cold drinks.
  • Stay warm and wrap up in several thin layers of clothing rather than one thick layer. Make sure you wear the correct footwear.
  • Don’t put off getting the flu vaccination; if you’re eligible get it as soon as possible. It’s free because you need it.
  • Talk to a pharmacist or GP if you’re unwell or want to make sure you’ve got enough support with a long term condition.
  • If you need to go out in bad weather, dress warmly and wear non-slip shoes to limit any falls. Also be sure to tell someone where you are going and an expected time when you will return. If you have a mobile phone, try to carry this with you, charged, so you can contact someone in case of an emergency. Wear lots of thin layers, eat warm food and remember that moving about will help keep you warm.
  • Keep yourself in contact with others in the local community and look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold and ensure they have access to warm food and drinks and are managing to heat their homes.

Warm Spaces

Warm Spaces are places where people can gather for free in a warm, safe, welcoming place and maybe enjoy a hot drink and some company.

We are working alongside voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations to establish a network of Warm Spaces throughout the district this winter. These include libraries, community centres, church halls, sports clubs and other places promising a warm welcome to anyone struggling to heat their home.

Warm Spaces are totally free to use and will provide a warm welcome to all.

Some venues will also offer hot drinks, activities and other service such as free wi-fi. Warm spaces will be heated, safe, friendly, neutral places where you can comfortably spend time reading, studying or chatting with others.

We have created a directory of all the Warm Spaces across the district. You can search the directory to find Warm Spaces near you.

Warm Homes, Healthy People

We work with charitable and voluntary organisations to help vulnerable groups across the district through the Warm Homes Healthy People Winter Support Programme.

You can find out more about staying well during colder periods at the NHS website.

The Cold Weather Plan for England sets out a series of actions that health and social care organisations, voluntary groups, and individuals can take to help reduce cold-related illnesses and deaths.

There are a variety of entitlements and benefits people can apply for if struggling to keep their houses warm, such as Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments. Information about these is available on the GOV.UK website.

Be prepared

The Met Office’s annual 'Weather Ready' campaign offers advice and links to a range of organisations to help individuals, families and communities prepare for winter. Topics include:

Looking after animals in winter

The RSPCA has information and advice on how to look after pets in cold weather as well as how to care for wildlife in winter

Cost of Living

It is a difficult time for everybody right now. The rising cost of everything, from groceries to utilities, is making it difficult to make ends meet. This is being referred to as a 'Cost of Living Crisis'. This does not mean that you have to be in crisis to be struggling, and it is affecting lots of people, not just the lowest earners. We are working in partnership with Community Action Bradford & District and Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership (Act as One) and have produced a Cost of Living support website and booklet with lots of information and advice to help people across the Bradford district.


Those who are homeless or rough sleeping are often the most at risk from cold weather. Information and support for people who are homeless or facing homelessness is available.

How you can help the homeless during cold weather

During periods of cold weather our Cold Weather Provision for the homeless will be opened, and outreach workers will be out making contact with those sleeping rough.

If you have concerns about anyone sleeping rough in the district please visit the StreetLink website or use the StreetLink app to help connect them to local services for support. Support to help to resolve housing situations on a longer term basis is also provided.

Winter water safety

In winter, children and pets are particularly at risk when tempted to play on the ice formed on open water, and adults can find themselves at risk in attempting to save them.

Taking a nice walk in cold weather with your family, friends or dogs in tow can be really refreshing, just make sure you know some simple tips on how to stay safe in winter.

Areas with frozen lakes, ponds, canals and reservoirs can be beautiful places to visit during the winter months but all too often many people risk their lives by venturing onto frozen water. Here are some useful tips to help you know what to do in an emergency.

The Royal Life Saving Society UK offers more advice and information on staying safe near frozen water this winter.