PRESS RELEASE 23/1/2017: Warm and Well project brings warmth to over 400 homes

A LOCAL CHARITY PROJECT is celebrating its positive impact on over 400 homes.

Warm and Well in North Yorkshire reached its 400th home visit earlier this month, meaning it reached over 400 households since last winter and brought practical and financial interventions to hundreds of vulnerable people at risk of fuel poverty.

Although the project, running since 2015, helped over 3,000 people across its full range of services – the 400th home visit symbolises a significant milestone and epitomises the support which is still on offer.

It’s also a lesson in partnership working across sectors, with over 30 organisations participating in the project. All of the charities, businesses and public authorities taking part have been working towards the same goal: to reduce households in fuel poverty across North Yorkshire.

Project co-ordinator Candice Dowson of Rural Action Yorkshire, who led Warm & Well, said: “Through fostering a collaborative spirit amongst the partnership, we have been able to be in the right place at the right time with the right people and support in place.

 “It has been a wonderful project to be part of and we hope its legacy will continue for years to come.”

Fuel poverty affects over 26,000 homes across North Yorkshire and there are hundreds of additional and avoidable deaths each winter which are directly-related to excess cold.

As well as being a threat to life, fuel poverty and being too cold at home also impact severely on physical and mental health.

Physical conditions such as arthritis, COPD and asthma can all be made worse by cold weather and depression, stress and anxiety are also made worse by the unavailability of affordable warmth.

Warm and Well, through the home visits it has provided, as well as its range of other services, was built around tackling these effects and more.

Barbara, 74, lives in Scarborough where rates of fuel poverty are some of the highest around. She received support from Warm and Well to reduce her monthly utility bills and replace her broken gas fire.

Barbara had been struggling to keep warm due to her low income and high bills, and was relying on expensive portable heaters to stave off the cold. Warm and Well reduced Barbara’s monthly bills from £149 to £115 and ensured she was added to the Priority Service Register. Fixing her gas fire also meant she was no longer dependent on those inefficient portable heaters.

Barbara complimented the friendly and brilliant support she received, saying: “It has renewed my faith in human beings. I did not think anyone cared anymore and they do.”

The project will be continuing to support people throughout winter and, although current funding from British Gas Energy Trust has come to an end, the success of the partnership means alternative funding has been secured to keep referrals open till March. This funding has come from North Yorkshire County Council Public Health.

Candice said: “The investment by Public Health demonstrates the faith in the Warm and Well project shared by so many across North Yorkshire. We have built up a large profile with frontline workers, community nurses, and charities and created a referral pathway that enables us to reach the most vulnerable.

“The success of the partnership has levered in additional funding to see us through to March, meaning our support services will remain available throughout the winter.

“This is all around great news for cold homes and North Yorkshire can be proud of the partnership it has created.”

To access support from the Warm and Well project, visit www.first4contact.orgor call 01423 740 001.

[ENDS]

 

Editor’s Notes

Photo attached to email. Caption: Barbara, 74, next to the new gas fire which Warm and Well funded.

Media contact: Candice Dowson, Project Manager, Rural Action Yorkshire tel. 0845 313 0270, or Leah Swain, Chief Officer, 0845 313 0270.

 

Warm and Well in North Yorkshire

Warm & Well in North Yorkshire (WWNY) is a winter health and fuel poverty project led by Rural Action Yorkshire (RAY), and delivered by over 30 partners covering all 7 districts. It is funded by British Gas Energy Trust’s Healthy Homes fund.

The project will run from October 2015 to December 2016, focussing on the colder months and the important run-up to winter.

The extent of fuel poverty and cold homes are major contributors to poor winter health. Fuel poverty is caused by three main factors: inefficient homes, high energy costs and low incomes. In North Yorkshire, fuel poverty stands at 10% - 26,229 households. Fuel poverty is more likely to occur in rural areas like North Yorkshire because housing tends to be older and harder to treat, homes are off the mains gas network, meaning higher costs for heating fuels, and there is generally a low take up of energy advice and grants.

The proposal is innovative in bringing together a comprehensive partnership including VCS organisations, local authorities, CCGs, and the Gas Distribution Network Operator, Northern Gas Networks. The proposal contains a mix of tried and tested activities e.g. energy advice, benefits maximisation, home improvements with a number of new innovations. These include developing a tailored guide for residential park mobile homes, trialling a whole community approach identifying cold homes with thermal imaging, and a Yorkshire wide campaign to raise awareness with the wider public of the problems and solutions to cold homes including a fun element of making draught excluders.

The project has been awarded nearly £394,000 to deliver this work.

Rural Action Yorkshire

Based at Askham Bryan, near York, RAY is one of 38 Rural Community Councils in England.  It isan independent, charitable, and voluntary organisation working across rural areas of North, South and West Yorkshire, to help communities improve the quality of life for all people living and working in rural Yorkshire.

RAY enables and empowers communities to develop the confidence to help themselves, and to ensure their needs are heard by policy makers and service providers – on a local, regional and national scale. Key work includes:

*Offering support, training, events and resources on everything affecting life in a rural area

*Help with funding, running community buildings, and staying up to date with the latest legislation

*Assisting with the implementation of Community Led Plans, which identify the strengths and weaknesses of an area and plan the future of community development work.

RAY and the other 37 rural community councils across England form the national ACRE Network (Action with Communities in Rural England). Find Rural Action Yorkshire online at www.ruralyorkshire.org.ukand Twitter @RuralYorkshire