East Sussex County Council has allocated £300,000 to helping vulnerable individuals avoid fuel poverty this year after an estimated 9.2 per cent of people in Eastbourne were unable to heat their homes adequately in 2011.
Due to the fact that living in a cold home can lead to a range of serious, often life-threatening health conditions, from asthma attacks to major respiratory diseases, the ESCC have adopted a plan to help address the problem of fuel poverty.
The £300,000 will be used to provide community advice and information through trained ‘Energy Champions’ to identify people at risk of fuel poverty and support them to get help, advice and information on staying warm and well, especially in Britain, where there is an increase in the numbers of heart attacks and strokes following a cold spell.
Information will also be available on where to get specialist help, such as advice on benefit entitlements and details of where to get repairs to keep the home warmer or make it cheaper to heat.
All services and support is being co-ordinated and delivered by the district and borough councils, the NHS, and voluntary and community sector organisations.
The council is also urging people to see if they are eligible for a winter home check service, which usually applies if someone in your household is disabled or if you are a family with children and on a low income.
The winter home check service can provide a full assessment of homes and how to keep it warm, including small preventative works such as improving insulation or clearing gutter and chimneys.
The service can also provide temporary heating in an emergency.
To see if you qualify for the service, or if you are concerned a friend or neighbour may be living in the cold, call Social Care Direct on 0345 60 80 191 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on keeping warm, visit:
Keep Warm Keep Well www.nhs.uk/livewell/winterhealth
Energy Saving Trust 0300 123 1234 www.energysavingtrust.co.uk
Met Office Get Ready for Winter www.metoffice.gov.uk/getreadyforwinter