WORCESTERSHIRE County Council is reminding residents to keep warm and well over the next few weeks as the county braces itself for the arrival of winter.

Cold weather can make people more vulnerable to many illnesses including colds and flu, as well as heart disease and strokes.

Last year there were 258 avoidable excess deaths in Worcestershire due to the cold conditions.

The county council is providing some top tips to keep your home warm, keep on top of your bills, and keep healthy.

Councillor Marcus Hart, cabinet member for health and well-being for Worcestershire County Council, said: “Encouraging people to look after themselves, families, and neighbours is especially important in winter months, as the cold weather sets in and older people can be at particular risk, especially those who live alone. 

"We know that fuel poverty can be a problem for some of our communities and help is available through Warmer Worcestershire.

“I’d urge people to sign the national NHS Winter Friends pledge to look in on elderly or vulnerable friends and neighbours to check they’re warm and well over winter.

"Those who sign up will receive free cold weather alerts and email tips throughout the winter to help them do their bit.”

For more information, call freephone 0800 988 2881 or visit warmerworcestershire.com