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Winter scheme returns to fight fuel poverty

04 October 2019

People at risk of suffering ill health as a result of fuel poverty are being supported by a scheme helping them stay warm in winter, reduce heating bills and maximise their income.

Image of the warm homes, healthy people project

Warm Homes Healthy People (WHHP) is a vital source of help for those whose health conditions make them vulnerable to the effects of cold weather.

Fuel poverty can have an extremely serious impact on physical and mental health including an increased risk of pneumonia, heart attacks, strokes and depression.

What is Warm Homes Healthy People?

The WHHP programme provides a range of interventions for those whose physical or mental health suffers with conditions made worse by the cold and require affordable warmth.

The help on offer includes access to emergency heating, income maximisation, debt advice, boiler services and energy efficiency measures.

The programme is led by the Council working with a wide range of partners including Cleveland Fire Brigade and Stockton Citizens Advice Bureau.

WHHP is funded by a grant of £100,000 per year from the Council's Public Health service.

What has the scheme done for people?

Since launching in 2012, WHHP has:

  • supported over 3,000 households
  • delivered over 5,000 measures to improve people's health
  • repaired or replaced over 700 boilers
  • provided 1,500 interventions to help residents remain independent in their homes
  • recovered close to £3million of previously unclaimed benefits

New for this year is a bespoke support package aimed at people living with dementia.

Am I eligible for help?

Support is available for people:

  • over 75 years old
  • in receipt of disability benefits
  • have a long-term illness made worse by the cold
  • living with a child under five with a long-term illness made worse by the cold
  • living with dementia

What do councillors think?

Councillor Jim Beall, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Health, Leisure and Culture, said: "Protecting the vulnerable is one of our highest priorities and Warm Homes Healthy People has had great success in promoting affordable warmth and helping to tackle fuel poverty over a number of years.

"Thousands of people have benefitted in various ways, not least with close to £3million in unclaimed benefit entitlement being secured for residents at risk of suffering from fuel poverty and the negative consequences it has for people's health.

"I'm particularly pleased to see the scheme expanding this winter to give extra support to people living with dementia and their families, it's a vital service that is doing great work to protect those who need it most to stay warm and well."

Where can I find out more?

Visit Energy saving schemes phone 01642 528215 or call in to one of our customer service centres in Billingham, Stockton or Thornaby.