Community Energy Plus News

Winter Wellbeing – coming soon to a cold home near you!

This will be the fourth year that organisations across Cornwall have joined forces to run ‘Winter Wellbeing’, a campaign that aims to reduce preventable winter deaths and help those at risk of ill-health and fuel poverty.

Winter Wellbeing won the Community Action Awards run by national fuel poverty charity NEA in partnership with the Department of Energy and Climate Change and British Gas.  The awards recognise excellence and innovation in the fields of tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency amongst vulnerable households and have helped secure increased funding for Winter Wellbeing.

Over the last three years, we’ve helped 6,200 people and reached many more with useful information and advice. This has saved 530 hospital admissions.  We would really encourage anyone who struggles in the winter months, to get in touch and see if we can help.

Winter Wellbeing provides information, advice and practical help for people at risk of the effects from cold and damp housing. This includes a helpline providing advice and referrals to agencies that can help households with practical measures, access to grants and information about ways people can help themselves.

The service can be accessed through a freephone number, 0800 954 1956, operated by Community Energy Plus. The local charity and social enterprise will be providing advice about staying warm and combating damp and mould, as well as assisting vulnerable householders with applications for insulation and heating schemes.

Targeted support will also be aimed at those most at risk, identified through referrals from sources such as GPs, clinical teams, volunteers, carers, job centres, social services, pharmacies and our partners.

The campaign also produces a Winter Wellbeing Guide, full of practical advice and tips on how to make homes warmer and healthier. It is available at locations across the county including from One Stop Shops, libraries, hospitals, job centres, food banks and health centres.

Stuart Bourne, Acting Director of Public Health for Cornwall Council and Council of the Isles of Scilly, said: ‘Every year we estimate there are around 300 preventable deaths related to the cold weather. 11 per cent of households locally  live in fuel poverty and cannot afford to keep warm and well, slightly above the national average of 10 per cent. Through Winter Wellbeing, we have been able to offer emergency support, but also help people make lasting changes that will improve their health for years to come with the joined up partnership approach of ‘reducing fuel poverty, improving health and progress to work’

Jeremy Rowe, Chair of Cornwall Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “I am pleased that we are able to continue and expand the excellent partnership working built up over the last three winters. Together, we are seeking  to help reduce the risks to people and reduce pressure on health and social care services, voluntary and community sector, as well as the emergency services this winter.”

Nicola McCheyne, Senior Manager- New Projects and Energy Policy at Community Energy Plus, said: “Rising energy costs are a major worry for householders on limited budgets so it’s vital that people who are struggling to heat their home and are at risk of becoming ill from living in a cold home can access help to stay warm and well this winter. Our achievements over the past three years have attracted national attention, but our challenge now is to secure funding to ensure that we can provide a comprehensive package of services to support the vulnerable members of our community in the winter.”

Funding comes from several partners. It is led by Public Health Cornwall Council, with support from Crisis and Care (Cornwall Council), Council of the Isles of Scilly, Inclusion Cornwall, NHS Kernow, Community Energy Plus, Cornwall Community Foundation, Cornwall Rural Community Council and Age UK.

Personal comments/feedback

  • “A huge difference mentally and physically, I am able to function and keep my independence and continue giving back to the community with my volunteer services.”
  • “We have a problem with damp in the property and being so cold had made it worse and aggravated my daughter’s asthma.”
  • “My wife is paraplegic and it was very difficult with no hot water or heating. After help we were very grateful as my wife bathes every day as I do.”