Food parcels and warm clothing are some of the essentials homeless and vulnerable people will be provided with this winter.

The coldest night of the winter - so far - was in Scotland on Wednesday with temperatures in Braemar, Aberdeenshire dropping as low as -10.5C.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for wind on Monday and Tuesday - will means windchill could mean temperatures feel just as low.

Voluntary Action Epping Forest is working in support of Essex County Councils Winter Warmth Campaign to try and keep everyone out of the cold.

Jacqui Foile, chief officer of the charity, said: “Our Winter Warmth Campaign will be running till March to support vulnerable people in the winter months.

“If you are made aware we can provide some support, food and clothes. Local churches and food banks will also be at hand to help.”

Fuel tokens, sealing windows and small heating appliances will also be provided by the independent charity at Woodside Industrial Estate, Thornwood.

While such help is at hand, the temperatures are predicted to plunge this January, prompting Essex MEP Alex Mayer to warn that hospitals could see a large spike in patient numbers.

New figures published by the NHS show that more than 15 per cent of patients arriving by ambulance in the East of England region faced a delay of over 30 minutes over the Christmas period despite the relatively mild weather.

Ms Mayer said: "There’s a cold snap on the way and we can see our NHS is already under pressure.

"The bitter temperatures will undoubtedly lead to more pressure on hardworking doctors and nurses.

"The Government need to step up and say what they plan to do before we get to a cold weather crisis situation.”