Warm and Well in North Yorkshire 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 until 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.org or call 01423 740 001.