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New fund helps Waltham Forest residents stay warm and well

A Waltham Forest project has been awarded a grant to make sure hospital patients don’t go back to the cold or damp homes that made them ill. Around 1,000 residents living in vulnerable circumstances will benefit from a warmer home.

From Press releases - 10 June 2019 12:00 AM

HEET in action.jpg

Home Energy Efficiency Training (HEET) has been given almost £20,000 from UK Power Networks, the country’s largest electricity distributor, in the company’s first Power Partners awards.

HEET has already improved the homes of about 10,000 residents by working with health and social care workers to identify vulnerable households. In 2016 the charity set up a successful project to help get people safely home from hospital, who otherwise would have had to stay as ‘bed blockers’ because their home was so cold. They have a commission from Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to fund this project alongside the Power Partners grant.

The project will reach about 1,000 Waltham Forest residents suffering from ailments that are, or could be, affected by living in a cold home - such as cardiovascular, respiratory, falls and sickle cell disease. Residents “at risk” will be offered a Home Energy Check that leads to energy efficiency and heating measures being installed in the home.

Frontline staff and volunteers will be trained to identify the signs of fuel poverty and give energy advice. The project will also carry out 500 Cold Home Assessments and deliver advice and talks in places like health centres and support groups.

Tom Ruxton, the charity’s co-ordinator, said: "HEET is delighted to receive the support of UK Power Networks. Cold homes are a bigger killer in the UK, than road accidents, alcohol or drug abuse according to the charity National Energy Action. GPs and hospitals do what they can to treat the effects of cold homes but patients will be constantly re-admitted if the cause of their illness is not treated. This is what a UK Power Networks grant enables HEET to do".

Launched earlier this year, the power company’s Power Partners community investment fund aims to support organisations that work to alleviate *fuel poverty, support people in vulnerable circumstances and make community buildings warmer and cheaper to heat. It is worth £300,000 a year in total and is available to community organisations across the South East, London and East of England.

Veronika Karailieva for UK Power Networks, said: “This project will help make sure people living in vulnerable circumstances don’t miss out on vital and practical help around energy use and keeping their costs down. We already serve at least 1.7 million people living in vulnerable circumstances by providing additional support and advice on energy matters via our Priority Services Register. We recognise there are wider communities that could benefit from extra help via our Power Partners fund to reduce energy bills or help to make community spaces more energy efficient.

Power Partners is administered in partnership with leading energy justice charity, the Centre for Sustainable Energy. The next fund is due to be announced shortly. For details on how to apply visit:  https://www.cse.org.uk/projects/view/1356
*Fuel poverty is measured using the Low Income High Costs (LIHC) indicator; a household is considered to be fuel poor if:
• they have required fuel costs that are above average (the national median level)
• were they to spend that amount, they would be left with a residual income below the official poverty line