A new project to tackle fuel poverty in Eden has been developed by health and council officers working together.
Living in fuel poverty can have a huge impact on people’s health and wellbeing, and in Eden many householders are paying a significant proportion of their income to heat their homes.
Warm Homes Eden is a new project funded by Eden District Council in collaboration with Cumbria County Council, Electricity North West and the NHS through the Eden Integrated Care Community.
The scheme operated by Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS) provides an assessment and advice service to help people with:
- Saving money on heating costs – control it better / support to move tariff
- Draft proofing
- Replacing inefficient heating
- Benefit review (including council tax discount for some health conditions) – income maximisation
- Review and support energy debt
- Warm home discount
- Priority Services Register for people in need
Judith Derbyshire, Housing & Health Portfolio Holder Eden District Council said: “Eden District Council is delighted to be working with other agencies, by both jointly funding and delivering this Warm Homes Eden project.
“The project is designed to help residents to save money on their heating and make their homes warmer. Offering an energy efficiency service for low income households is a key objective for Eden District Council because we have such a pre-dominance of solid wall properties, which can be hard to heat. Two thirds of the district is not connected to the mains gas network and reliant on other more expensive forms of heating.”
Dr Ashley Liston, lead GP for Eden Integrated Care Community, said: “We know living in a cold house with only poor heating can have an impact on health, especially on respiratory conditions. GPs across Eden identified it as a real problem and have been able to reinvest some of the savings we have made through meeting some of our quality targets in this scheme. It is the first time we have done anything like this and think it can have a real positive impact on health.”
Cllr David Whipp, Chairman of Eden Local Committee of Cumbria County Council, said: “Eden Local Committee has jointly funded ‘Warm Homes Eden’ to support residents of Eden who may be struggling to heat their homes. ‘Warm Homes Eden’ will support people to access the help they need to tackle fuel poverty through one central advice and information point.”
Stephanie Trubshaw, Customer Director at Electricity North West, said: “Electricity North West is delighted to be working with Eden District Council and partners, to deliver ‘Warm Homes Eden’ which benefits low income, vulnerable residents across the region. When there is a power cut we make it our priority to restore the power as quickly and as safely as possible, to minimise disruption. Being without power is inconvenient for everyone, but can cause additional difficulties to some residents, for example those who are more frail or living with a health issue.”
Andrew Northcott for Cumbria Action for Sustainability said: “Working with many partners to deliver ‘Warm Homes Eden’ should ensure as many people as possible can find out what is available to improve the energy performance of their home – leading to warmer homes that are safer to live in during winter, whilst helping tackle climate change. We are supporting Warm Homes Eden so that customers can contact us about a wide range of home energy matters, including energy advice visits, tariff advice and switching and a wide range of home energy improvements for eligible households.”
Warm Homes Eden will work with partners across the third sector including Carlisle and Eden Citizens Advice, Age UK, Stroke Association, British Heart Foundation, Macmillan, RNIB, parish councils and others.
Fuel poverty is a public health priority, identified in the county’s 10 year joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Cumbria County Council’s Public Health Strategy. It is a health priority identified in the emerging strategy for north Cumbria in response to the NHS Long Term Plan. There is also NICE guidance around reducing winter deaths and impact of fuel poverty.
People can find more information online at https://www.eden.gov.uk/housing/housing-support-and-grants/warm-homes-eden or call Warm Homes Eden on 01768 593240 or email [email protected].