AS the big freeze hits, a winter home checks scheme has helped nearly 2000 vulnerable people beat falling temperatures.

Glasgow Housing Association is offering vulnerable tenants who are over the age of 60, or are disabled, a free home check to ensure their property is ready for winter.

More than 1700 tenants have already signed up to get their plumbing and heating checked, since the campaign launched in November.

GHA's WinterReady aims to help vulnerable tenants when temperatures plummet.

All the big six energy companies announced price increases last autumn, with the average family's dual fuel bill now at a record high of around £1400 a year.

The campaign aims to help keep tenants warm and save them money on their power bills.

Tenants of GHA and Cube Housing Association, which are both part of the Wheatley Housing Group, will be visited by a plumber who will check their boiler, pipes and taps and bleed the radiators.

They will show tenants how to set their heating, turn off the water in the event of an emergency and make sure stopcocks are accessible.

Fanchea Kelly, GHA's executive director of housing and support services, said: "The winter home checks have helped more than 3300 tenants since we launched the scheme two years ago.

"It's important that our most vulnerable tenants do everything they can to stay warm and well during the cold weather."

Tips include keeping rooms at around 18-21C and checking dripping taps and overflows to prevent freezing of waste pipes and flooding.

GHA bosses have also urged tenants to book an annual gas service to ensure their heating system is working properly.

Earlier this month, the Evening Times revealed how fuel advisers have saved housing association tenants more than £500,000. The GHA scheme, which gives householders free advice, was launched three years ago.

It is estimated it has so far helped tenants save more than half a million pounds on their power bills.

GHA's fuel adviser service offers advice on how to cut bills and get access to the cheapest tariffs.

Advisers can also speak to fuel firms on behalf of tenants and arrange low-cost payment arrangements with energy companies.

As part of the campaign, tenants can access a free Handyperson Service, for odd jobs around the home, as well as fuel and welfare benefit advice.

More than 8000 GHA and Cube tenants, who are aged 70 and over, also received £40 of food vouchers before Christmas.

Any GHA tenant who would like a visit from a fuel adviser should contact their local housing officer, or phone the customer service department on a landline on 0800 479 7979 or 0141 274 7979 from a mobile.

More winter tips can be found at housing