Fuel Poverty Awareness Day – 10th February 2012
With fuel poverty now affecting one in four households in Cornwall, Community Energy Plus are urging frontline health and social care staff and community volunteers to recognise the signs of fuel poverty and ensure that vulnerable householders get the help they need to live warmer healthier lives.
The Cornish sustainable energy social enterprise is using National Fuel Poverty Awareness day to put the spotlight on Fuel Poverty in Cornwall and highlight the support that is available to those in need.
Fuel Poverty is defined as households spending more than 10 per cent of their income on heating. As energy prices continue to climb, the people classed as living in fuel poverty steadily increases. In Cornwall there are a number of factors which contribute the county having the highest levels of fuel poverty in the South West. Low wages, large numbers of poorly insulated solid wall properties and reliance on more expensive forms of heating where there is no access to mains gas, have forced many households to make difficult choices between heating and eating.
Community Energy Plus has seen a dramatic rise in calls from householders who have no heating, can’t afford to heat their homes to the recommended temperature or have been forced into fuel debt because the costs of keeping warm are too high.
Alec Rice, Fuel Poverty Projects Manager at Community Energy Plus, is working with frontline workers to drive home the message that they have a role to play in fighting fuel poverty.
Alec said: “There’s a stigma attached to Fuel Poverty and many people put up with living in cold, damp homes because they’re not aware of the support that may be available to them or are too embarrassed to seek help. We’re working with a number of public, private and volunteer organisations to raise awareness of fuel poverty and provide access to the advice and support to improve their client’s quality of life”.
Community Energy Plus recently started a four year project funded by the Big Lottery Fund to provide fuel poverty awareness training for frontline workers and community groups and to fund a dedicated fuel poverty caseworker.
Householders wanting advice and access to grants for heating and insulation should contact Community Energy Plus on Freephone 0800 954 1956.