St Blazey residents are getting one-to-one help to enjoy warmer, safer homes thanks to a pioneering project by Cornwall’s energy advice charity Community Energy Plus.
The charity has recruited and trained a ‘Community Energy Champion’ who is going door-to-door within targeted streets in St Blazey to help householders save money and access a broad range of services provided by local and national organisations.
Community Energy Champion Mel Eyers has provided in-depth advice to around 20 St Blazey residents so far. The assistance she provides includes help to compare and switch energy tariffs, claim the Warm Homes Discount from energy suppliers as well as applying for grants for heating upgrades, insulation and to reduce energy debt. She is able to provide free carbon monoxide alarms to qualifying households and makes referrals for the installation of free smoke alarms and home fire safety checks by Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service.
The Warm & Safe Homes project in Cornwall is being sponsored by the gas network provider Wales & West Utilities and is co-managed by the Community Interest Company, Warm Wales. The Cornish project is working to replicate the success of Warm Wales’ award winning projects in South and North Wales which have been running for almost two years.
Mel tailors her advice to the needs and circumstances of the householders she meets and a common aspect of her work involves giving practical advice on reducing condensation and mould, which is particularly prevalent in cold homes in Cornwall. With a focus on helping local residents to maximise their household’s income, she is regularly meets householders who are encouraged to apply for means tested benefits such as Attendance Allowance and access discounts on their water and council tax bills.
“I’ve been impressed by the strong sense of community in St Blazey” explains Mel. “Some of the people I’ve visited have asked me to call on their friends or family members to see if I can help them save money so word about my work is starting to spread. There’s lots of simple ways that people can save money and services that many people aren’t aware of so by going door-to-door to provide advice we’re hoping to overcome some of the barriers that may stop some local residents from accessing help to enjoy warmer, safer homes.”
Residents of St Blazey and the wider china clay villages, are being encouraged to contact Community Energy Plus if they would like to request a visit from Mel to help them save money by calling Freephone 0800 954 1956.
St Austell will be the next area visited by the project, starting in June.