Charities gear up for winter round two

CHARITIES AND ORGANISATIONS working to improve affordable warmth are getting ready for their second winter as part of Warm and Well in North Yorkshire.

All of the organisations taking part in the project are experts in fuel poverty and at improving cold homes, but this is their second winter working together under the ‘Warm and Well’ joint initiative.

Launching the partnership last winter has enabled more people to be reached than ever before with everyone involved working toward the same goals: to reduce unnecessary winter deaths and provide practical support to guard against the negative effects of cold homes.

Candice Dowson, project manager, said: “Warm and Well in North Yorkshire has enabled a diverse group of providers to come together and work side-by-side in the fight against fuel poverty.

“It has been excellent to see the passion which we all share put to good use for the maximum benefit of the public.”

The project seeks to assist residents and patients who are most at risk from the physical and emotional effects of being too cold at home, such as those on low incomes, with long-term health conditions, and the frail or elderly.

Support is varied according to people’s individual needs, but can cover energy switching, benefits advice, improvements to the home so it is both warmer and more efficient, crisis interventions where someone is without heating or hot water, and support with fuel debts.

Funded by the British Gas Energy Trust, the project is only active until the end of December this year, so people are encouraged to get in touch sooner rather than later.

Candice said: “The range of the organisations on board with Warm and Well is a great example of good practice as it has not been done on this scale before in North Yorkshire, and it means we have an amplified reach into communities.

“We have helped residents who have had no heat for 5 years, or who are sleeping downstairs to keep warm, or who have built up thousands of pounds worth of debt.

“The strength of the partners on board means we can look at an issue from every angle and find the best way forward for the person we are helping.”

Referrals can be made into Warm and Well by calling 01423 740 001 or by visiting www.first4contact.org.

Candice said: “We like to think of ourselves as the ‘cold-busters’ this winter. If there is a problem, or you’re worried about someone you know, you can give us a call.”