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WATCH: First homes benefit from heating for poor Cornish families

WATCH: First homes benefit from heating for poor Cornish families

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 3:52pm 23rd February 2018.

The first of hundreds of homes in Cornwall are starting to feel warmer, thanks to a new heating roll out.

£8 million is being pumped into a scheme to help families living in cold and damp houses

The money is being spent on free central heating, as part of the 'Warm and Well Cornwall' programme.

It comes as figures seen by Pirate FM have revealed 36 thousand homes in Cornwall are in fuel poverty.

In fact the problem is so bad, the Duchy is one of the 10 worst areas in the country for fuel poverty.

Bosses hope this new scheme will help around 1,000 homes by January 2019.

To be eligible residents need to be; living in a cold or damp home, struggling to pay energy bills, at risk of ill health, on a low income or a carer.

Anyone who thinks they might be eligible is still being urged to get in touch.

To find out more about Warm and Well Cornwall or to check eligibility, please ‘Call Bev’ at Inclusion Cornwall on 01872 326552 or visit www.cornwall.gov.uk/warmandwell  

Dr Caroline Court, Interim Director of Wellbeing and Public Health said: “Fuel poverty doesn’t just mean that people can’t afford to pay their heating bills. There is a much wider impact.

"People become socially isolated because they are embarrassed to invite people over, children struggle to concentrate on homework because they’re too cold.

“Reducing fuel poverty is about the best possible opportunities in life, and that starts with a warm home to help them stay well, and achieve the best health, wellbeing and work outcomes.”

Watch what life is like for people living in fuel poverty...

 

So how will this new scheme work?

Cornwall Council says thousands of people across Cornwall will be lifted out of fuel poverty and live in warmer homes following the £8m funding investment over the next year.

The Winter Wellbeing Partnership, led by Cornwall Council and including 30 partners, has secured over £3.5m from National Grid's Warm Homes Fund to work with thousands of people to stay warmer for less and be lifted out of fuel poverty.

The new fund - 'Warm and Well Cornwall' - targets residents who are in poor health or at risk of ill health, or with underlying health issues, or caring for a vulnerable person or worried about their home being cold or damp.

'Warm and Well Cornwall' will help 220 private homes, including owners, landlords or tenants and up to 800 social housing homes with first time central heating, such as renewable heating, mains gas, oil, or LPG, with many more to follow in future years.

Social housing partners Ocean, Coastline, Cornwall Housing, Guinness and DCH are investing around £2.5m to improve heating for their tenants with renewable heating and gas central heating.

Funding has also been secured from SSE Energy Solutions, Cornwall Council's Energy Efficiency partner. SSE has ring-fenced Energy Company Obligation (ECO) eligible measures targeted at fuel poor and vulnerable households in Cornwall and is a key partner to delivering Warm and Well Cornwall.

By January 2019, the programme is expected to have helped more than 1,000 homes out of fuel poverty, keeping people warm and well.

Private landlords with tenants can also apply for funding to upgrade their properties.

From April 2018, private landlords cannot re-let existing rented properties rated EPC F or G, unless they have registered a valid exemption and from 2020 landlords won't be able to let any (non-exempt) properties if they are rated F or G.

Cornwall Council Deputy Leader Julian German said: “Fuel poverty is an issue for many of our residents in Cornwall.

"In 2018, no-one should have to choose between heating and eating, so we are doing what we can to address this inequality by lifting people out of fuel poverty.

“The Devolution Deal has had a part to play in this much needed scheme.

"New ways of delivering insulation improvements to Cornish homes agreed with the Government means we have more control over the decisions on which homes can receive this support.”

Watch how to spot the signs of families living in fuel poverty...

 

DCH resident Mercedes Oxley whose heating was installed in January said: “I am very pleased with the gas central heating. It has made a huge difference to us in day to day life as we can have heat as and when we need it. 

"We were totally delighted with the workmanship and to all at DCH on dealing with enquiries and keeping us updated as to when the work would be taking place – thank you so much!”

Ralph Retallack, Energy Efficiency Manager at Coastline Housing added: “One of the most important things in life is a warm, comfortable home that people can afford to run and enjoy.

"We’re delighted to be starting another programme of work to bring this about by helping to reduce fuel bills for our customers.”

Tony Butler, UK Sales Manager for SSE Energy Solutions added: “As their Energy Efficiency Partner, SSE Energy Solutions is proud to support Cornwall Council’s Winter Wellbeing Partnership.

"This exceptional group of likeminded entities, comprising 30 partners in total, all strive towards the same common goal to eliminate fuel poverty in Cornwall.  

"Whilst other regions share similar objectives, challenges and financial constraints to those of Cornwall, few benefit from such a well-connected group of champions, who, thanks to their input and the council’s coordination, make this partnership a truly bespoke and innovative arrangement.”

Watch the extent of fuel poverty in the UK...

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