Testing time for winter warmers

A TESTING programme is being resumed in Northumberland to help ensure pensioners stay warm this winter.

Trading Standards officers will be carrying out electric blanket checks again this year at a number of venues in the north of the county later this month.

This free service has been jointly organised by Northumberland County Council’s Trading Standards department and Age UK Northumberland, with assistance from the Fire and Rescue Service and Three Rivers Housing.

Among the people glad to have gone along last year was Morpeth resident Joyce Bray. Her blanket failed the safety test, so she received a replacement that met the standards at reduced cost from Age UK Northumberland.

Now Miss Bray is putting some of those which fail the test to good use as she removes all of the wiring and hands them on to a cat and dog shelter to keep the animals warm.

Northumberland County Council Business and Consumer Protection Manager Jimmy Power said: “Last year, 55 per cent of the electric blankets failed the tests so I would appeal to pensioners to get their blankets checked and make sure they are safe in time for this winter.”

Trading Standards currently runs the blanket testing on a three-year programme. This year it will be carried out in the north of the county with tests in previous years in the south east and west areas.

The venues include Rothbury Jubilee Hall on the morning of Tuesday, September 27, Northumberland Hall in Alnwick on Wednesday, September 28 and Amble Development Trust on Friday, September 30. Testing is by appointment only and numbers are limited so booking is recommended by calling 01670 534570. Arrangements can be made to collect blankets from anyone who is housebound.