A Case Worker from the Cornish energy advice charity Community Energy Plus was named a Heat Hero at a special awards ceremony at the Houses of Parliament.
Karen Leach from St Columb has almost ten years’ experience of providing phone-based energy advice for Community Energy Plus and in the last three years her role has broadened significantly, helping to shape and deliver in-home advice, handholding and advocacy services within the charity.
Karen uses her energy, drive and technical knowledge to help vulnerable households in Cornwall escape from the misery, anxiety and ill-health caused by fuel poverty. She frequently helps clients to apply for energy trust fund grants to alleviate fuel debt and also puts together funding jigsaws from multiple benevolent funds when no assistance is available.
Dr Tim Jones, Chief Executive of Community Energy Plus said: “Karen is an invaluable asset to Community Energy Plus and indeed the vulnerable householders she helps and for this reason I believe she deserves the title of Heat Hero.”
Reflecting on her award, Karen Leach said: “I already enjoy a great sense of personal satisfaction from helping to improve the lives of vulnerable clients living in fuel poverty but getting national recognition for my work is something I never expected. Being named a heat hero is a wonderful honour and a title that I will certainly hold with pride.”
The Heat Heroes Awards are open to individuals across England and Wales and celebrate those who go above and beyond to get the recognition they deserve for helping people in their community live in warmer homes.
Held in partnership between Vaillant and the charity National Energy Action, this year there were some very strong candidates, and the judges selected 17 worthy winners from across the UK.
Not-for-profit organisations including local authorities, health and social care agencies, voluntary and statutory agencies and community groups were encouraged to nominate staff and volunteers for the award.
Maria Wardrobe, Director of Communications and External Relations at National Energy Action commented: “Each year I am bowled over by the passion and tenacity that our Heat Heroes demonstrate, always going above and beyond what is expected of them in their job or as unpaid volunteers. It was a delight to meet them and be able to say well done and thank you on behalf of those they help.”
Mark Wilkins, Head of External Affairs at Vaillant said: “Vaillant is proud to continue supporting NEA in its goal of tackling fuel poverty across the UK and the Heat Heroes Awards scheme is a great opportunity to recognise and reward individuals who have made a significant contribution to tackling fuel poverty in their local community and workplace. As a manufacturer of energy efficient heating technology, Vaillant is committed to finding innovative solutions to help make the UK’s building stock cleaner, greener and more affordable to heat.”