Sunday, 28 February 2016 20:25

Fund secured to tackle fuel poverty

Written by  Ruralcity Media

A NEW project is helping people in hard-to-reach rural communities manage and reduce their fuel bills.

The Healthy Homes - Active Advice scheme, which will run until December aims to tackle fuel poverty in mid-Essex.

It is being led by Chelmsford Citizens Advice Bureau, in partnership with, Essex County Council, Mid Essex Clinical Commission Group and Chelmsford City Council.

The partners secured funding of £420,000 with the support of Essex County Council and the British Gas Energy Trust Healthy Homes Fund.

It is targeting vulnerable residents at most risk of experiencing fuel poverty by ensuring homes are insulated and have energy saving devices fitted.

Those most at risk of poor health as a result of their home falling below a predetermined temperature are given a cold alarm to alert a centralised support centre of the situation.

The project is targeting those in hard to reach rural communities - such as the elderly - through a leaflet drop followed by a visit on their door step by an adviser.

Anne Brown, Essex County Council cabinet member for communities, said: "It is really important that people keep warm in their homes, but fuel poverty is a reality for many.

"Fuel poverty is where low income, high fuel costs, and home energy efficiency combine to make heating a home difficult."

As well as advice on making homes more fuel efficient, the scheme also offers advice on managing and reducing fuel bills, including signing up to the Energy Switch auction site.

Council leader David Finch said: "Helping people reduce their fuel bills is essential."

Switching to a lower tariff, in collaboration with the installation of energy saving devices, could start to make a real difference to people's lives.

The scheme will offer advice on services including information on benefits, hardship funding, energy efficiency measures and debt management.

It can also refer people for emergency accommodation and provide assistance to quickly access benefit support.

For details, call 01245 205562 or to visit www.essex.gov.uk/energyswitch.

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