Cornish householders living with health conditions made worse by cold homes are being urged not to suffer in silence this winter. The local energy charity Community Energy Plus is in its final two months of delivering a project which has already provided advice to over 3,000 people who were struggling to heat their homes. As the latest blast of cold weather hits the county, the charity are expecting to handle an increased number of calls from people who are struggling with rising heating costs.
Community Energy Plus’s Smart Warmth project has been funded by the British Gas Energy Trust to help vulnerable and low income householders in Cornwall to keep warm and well. The project complements the charity’s Freephone energy advice line and is enabling more in-depth advice to be provided in the homes of those who need additional support.
A flexible fund from the project is also helping low income households with long-term health conditions to make energy efficient home improvements. So far over 200 households in Cornwall have benefited from a range of measures including heating repairs, dehumidifiers, ventilation systems, portable heaters and even electric blankets.
Dr Tim Jones, chief executive of Community Energy Plus explained the value of the project: “For people who spend a lot of time at home, keeping warm in winter is an important part of staying healthy and happy. We are pleased to have received funding to enable us to provide both advice and practical support to make homes warmer and improve the health and wellbeing of hundreds of local people.”
Retired Falmouth resident Bob Hodges has received help from Community Energy Plus through the project. Mr Hodges said: “Keeping warm is a really important part of managing my health condition. While I’m able to keep the rest of my home nice and warm, the kitchen was always cold because it had old single glazed windows. I was really grateful to have received help to upgrade my kitchen to double glazing. It’s made a remarkable difference and means that I feel much more comfortable working in the kitchen now, regardless of how cold it is outside.”
Mr Hodges is the founding member and chairman of the Breathe Falmouth Club, a support club for people with respiratory illnesses. Mr Hodges continued: “Community Energy Plus came to talk to our members about the help they can provide through this project and it’s been wonderful to hear that several of our members have also received help. The charity’s flexible fund is really clever as it is being used on whatever is needed to help people keep warm and healthy at home. Their advice on saving energy and reducing condensation and mould has also been extremely helpful to me and other Breathe Falmouth members and I know that their help will be invaluable to many other people during the current cold weather.”
Dr Jones concluded: “Too many people put up with living in a cold home because they don’t think that there is anything they can do to improve their situation. We would like to encourage anyone who is worried about their energy bills or is struggling to heat their home to get in contact with Community Energy Plus. We are part of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s Winter Wellbeing partnership so as well as providing help through the Smart Warmth project, we can also help people to access additional support from a network of partners from across the public, private and voluntary sectors.”
For advice and help with reducing your energy bills and keeping warm and well, call Community Energy Plus’s Freephone advice line number on 0800 954 1956.