An insulation scheme which has delivered important financial, health and wellbeing outcomes for park home residents in Cornwall has received a prestigious Community Action Award from the national fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) in partnership with the UK government and British Gas.
Cornish energy charity Community Energy Plus worked with Cornwall Council to help 67 residents living in park homes to install energy saving measures to reduce heating costs and keep their homes warm. Upfront costs were covered by an innovative local authority grant and loan scheme to help to create a warmer, healthier and more cost efficient home.
The Community Action Awards recognise excellence and innovation in the fields of tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency amongst vulnerable households. The Cornwall Park Home Insulation Scheme was commended for delivering important financial, health and wellbeing outcomes for park home residents, who tend to be over the age of 60 and on low incomes.
Community Energy Plus is the first organisation to win the award in two consecutive years, having won the award last year in recognition of their lead role in developing and delivering the Winter Wellbeing Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Community Energy Plus is using a Community Action Award winner’s grant to host a series of multi-agency advice sessions for park home residents in Cornwall. These build on the project by helping residents to get advice on how to make their homes warmer and lower energy bills. The first event at Heartlands, Pool included the award presentation and was attended by a number of park home residents who had benefitted from the insulation scheme.
Maria Wardrobe, Director of External Affairs at NEA said: “More than 27,000 households in Cornwall are experiencing the impacts of fuel poverty. Community groups working in partnership are vital to help tackle the issue of ill health due to living in cold homes and I’m delighted that Community Energy Plus has won a Community Action Award for their work. I would like to thank DECC and British Gas for supporting the initiative.”
Donna Cooper, Senior Manager at Community Energy Plus, said: “It was a real honour to accept this award alongside Cornwall Council. Speaking to some of the scheme’s beneficiaries emphasised the value of this scheme and going forward we look forward to working with Cornwall Council to find innovate solutions to the challenge of helping many more local people to enjoy warmer, healthier park homes.”
Cllr Joyce Duffin, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Cornwall Council, said: “Park homes can be inefficient at retaining heat and have previously been precluded from government schemes which provide free or discounted insulation. Cornwall Council stepped in to ensure that those most in need were provided with assistance to enjoy warmer homes and lower heating bills and it is fantastic that the value our work has been recognised in this way.”
Park homes are inefficient at retaining heat and many are not connected to the main gas network and so face higher than average heating costs, putting their residents at a greater risk of experiencing fuel poverty than those living in conventionally built properties.
A survey, carried out after the scheme beneficiaries had enjoyed a full heating season in their warmer homes, demonstrated the effectiveness of the measures with 89% of respondents reporting that they are now able to keep warm, compared to just 4% at the start of the scheme. The improved heat retention has allowed residents to turn central heating thermostats down and have the heating on for shorter periods of time. This has resulted in average heating bill savings of £35.65 a month which is an average saving of 38%.
Christine Tate, Head of Corporate Responsibility at British Gas said, “Community Energy Plus are doing great work in Cornwall to improve energy efficiency for park home residents. We hope that new insulation and energy saving advice will help more people to stay warm in their homes this winter.”
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd said: “My number one priority is to keep energy bills down for hardworking people and businesses across the country and these fantastic local energy-saving projects will help people to have warmer homes and cheaper bills. The Government is taking action by promoting competition and funding the Big Energy Saving Network which encourages charities and community groups to help people across Britain make their homes more energy efficient or switch to a different energy supplier or deal. Switching is one of the easiest ways of keeping your bills low, and we’ve made it easier than ever to do it.”
Further multi-agency advice events will be held for Cornish park home residents at Launceston Town Hall on Tuesday 10th November and at Kingsley Village, Fraddon on Tuesday 24th November, both events are from 2pm to 4pm.
Photo caption: Donna Cooper from Community Energy Plus and Cllr Joyce Duffin receive the Community Action Award from Matt Baker of British Gas, with Claire Henderson from NEA and Adam McKnight of the scheme’s insulation installer ThermEco.