An new programme is being introduced that will see Warwick district's rough sleepers offered free flu vaccinations.
As part of Warwickshire County Council’s commitment to tackle homelessness across the county, a trained immunisation nurse will attend shelters and centres of support in each district and borough to deliver flu vaccinations to the people receiving help there.
Flu vaccinations are already offered to up to one in three Warwickshire residents free of charge, including pregnant women, people over 65 and carers. Now those who are sleeping rough will also have the option of receiving a flu jab.
Councillor Les Caborn, portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, said: “I’m very pleased we’re able to roll out this initiative. Obviously we don’t want anybody to be sleeping rough but we have to be realistic and make sure that people who have the potential to be in that position are protected. When the weather gets colder people sleeping rough are in a particularly vulnerable position, and something as simple as a flu vaccination could make a big difference to someone’s quality of life through the winter.”
This new announcement comes as part of a larger programme of work to address homelessness in Warwickshire. Earlier in 2018, WCC pledged £300,000 to work in partnership to help tackle this challenge. District and borough councils, the police, charities and service providers are among those working together to build a collaborative approach to tackling homelessness.
Councillor Peter Phillips, Warwick District Council portfolio holder for housing, said: “It is imperative that we offer our full support to those sleeping rough during the winter months. We are committed to tackling the issue of rough sleeping head on and our new hostel in Leamington is testament to this, but there is always more we can do. A free flu vaccination for the most vulnerable ensures they can be safe and well this winter.”
In September, the partners met for the first Countywide Approach to Homelessness Prevention conference in Dunchurch, discussing the current picture of homelessness in Warwickshire, the government’s take on the wider national problem, and the causes and contributors to homelessness such as domestic violence, family breakdown and the termination of assured shorthold tenancies.