MAJOR BOOST TO THE CAMPAIGN FOR A RURAL STRATEGY:
The Independent Food, Farming & Countryside Commission hosted by the RSA in its report launched on Tuesday 16th July ‘Our Future in the Land’ has added its voice to the calls by the RSN and the House of Lords Select Committee for a comprehensive Rural Strategy (more to follow)
The iniaitive is being funded by North Yorkshire County Council to support those most at risk this winter as temperatures tumble.
The council’s public health team has been awarded a contract on behalf of the North Yorkshire Health and Wellbeing Board.
Across North Yorkshire, fuel poverty affects more than 26,000 households and contributed to 431 winter deaths in 2012-13.
There are about 3,000 emergency additional admissions to hospital each year because of cold conditions.
It is estimated that around 11,000 children live in homes which struggle to pay the additional bills that winter brings with it.
The Warm & Well initiative will offer practical solutions to reduce fuel poverty and supports people and communities to stay warm and well in winter.
The project will offer:
* A single point of contact telephone line
* Support for communities to set up winter weather schemes
* Practical and financial help to stay warm and well at home
* Talks, events and training for residents and frontline workers
* Campaigns, resources and tips on health and wellbeing issues
It will be targeted at residents most at risk – including those on benefits or low incomes, older people or people with long term health conditions and families with young children.
It will also support people who live in rural areas where houses are often off the mains gas grid, are poorly-insulated and even cut off when bad weather strikes.
Caroline Dickinson, the council's executive member for public health, prevention and supported housing, said: "Winter has a significant and predictable impact on people’s health.
"Few people realise the real extent of the effects of the cold, and that they are largely preventable.
"We are delighted to be working in partnership with Citizens Advice to continue the essential work of the Warm & Well in North Yorkshire project.
"By doing so, we aim to help reduce the negative effect of winter on North Yorkshire’s most vulnerable residents."
Referrals to the project can be made by individuals and professionals.
Citizens’ Advice chief executive Carol Shreeve said: “We believe that this partnership can help to reduce fuel poverty and cold weather related health issues.
"We would encourage any individuals or organisations who want more information, or need help, to contact us. We are very proud to be working with partners who care so much about these issues.’’
The service has the backing of Community First Yorkshire, which ran the initial Warm & Well project.
The Warm and Well website at www.warmandwell.org.uk includes an online referral form.
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