VULNERABLE people in Halesowen and Sandwell will be helped to keep warm with Government grants totalling more than £200,000 in a bid to reduce winter deaths.

Dudley Council has been given £97,502 for its Snug as a Bug campaign and Sandwell £138,128 for its Winter Warmth project from the Warm Homes Healthy People Fund.

The money will help fund rapid response measures such as emergency portable heaters and pay for energy efficiency projects to the most vulnerable people.

It will also enable the councils to provide residents with advice, ensure better public awareness of cold weather and that staff and volunteers have the training they need.

Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris welcomed the funding, saying: “Too many people die needlessly as a result of cold homes and freezing winter weather.

“Some people on low incomes will be eligible for discounts on their heating bills or other help from their energy companies.

“If you are struggling to heat your home, or have a friend or relative who needs help, there are people who can give you the advice and support you need.”

People needing help or advice should call 0800 2922679 if they live in Dudley or 0800 0337967 if they live in Sandwell.