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Leicestershire’s most vulnerable helped to keep warm this winter

Over 350 of Leicestershire’s most vulnerable residents have been kept warm so far this year thanks to a partnership between Leicester City Council and npower’s Health Through Warmth scheme. With temperatures dropping, the scheme’s work can mean the difference between a happy, warm Christmas and a cold, stressful one.

Managed locally by the Council, Health Through Warmth aims to help residents with long-term illnesses made worse by the cold. The scheme works with local organisations to identify vulnerable people that need help to repair or replace broken boilers and heating systems. It also provides insulation and energy efficiency advice.

Since the scheme launched locally in 2003, it has helped nearly 4,500 people in Leicestershire with measures worth £4.6 million, of which nearly £800,000 was contributed from the unique npower Health Through Warmth Crisis Fund. It has installed nearly 350 full central heating systems and 1,025 boilers and over 400 insulation measures. Leicester City Council’s Technical Officer, who supports HTW has also made over 2,000 energy advice home-visits in the area.

Earlier this year, Hazel Taylor, retired Leicester resident suffering osteoarthritis and cardiomyopathy, was helped by the Health Through Warmth scheme when her thirty-year old boiler began to malfunction. She commented: “I could see it was only a matter of time before the boiler stopped working completely and I didn’t know what to do – I got quotes for a new one but there was no way I was going to be able to afford them. Then one day a friend mentioned that she’d been helped by a scheme called Health Through Warmth and told me they might be able to help me too.”

After assessing Hazel’s case, Health Through Warmth obtained a quote for a new boiler.  Hazel was able to make a contribution towards the cost of the work and the Health Through Warmth Co-ordinator sourced the remaining  funding  from Charity Link, Home Warmth for the Aged, Local NHS Support Funding* and the npower Health Through Warmth Crisis Fund. Within 5 weeks funding had been secured and a new boiler, controls and a radiator were installed.

Commenting after installation, Hazel said: “It was all so painless and the workmen couldn’t have been nicer or more supportive. And the heating – it’s so easy! I just pop the thermostat up or down as I fancy and I’ve already noticed a drop in my energy bills with the new and hugely efficient boiler. It’s such a relief not to have to worry about the heating and to know I’ll be comfortable and warm at home this winter.”

Lucy Birch, Leicester City Council’s Health Through Warmth coordinator, spoke about her expectations for the scheme in the coming months: “The cold winter weather is now upon us and the importance of keeping warm in your home should not be overlooked. Our aim is to improve the levels of warmth, comfort and quality of life for vulnerable people and it’s important for residents to know that we are here to help.”

Elizabeth Gardner, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Community and Health Through Warmth at npower, added: “I am enormously proud of the work that Health Through Warmth does. It plays a vital role in providing help to those that might not be able to find it elsewhere. The importance of warmth and comfort should not be underestimated, particularly for people with long-term illnesses.”

To be eligible for the scheme, people must own their own home and have lived there for at least six months; have a long-term illness and a low income with little or no savings (assessed); and be unable to fully fund the repair or replacement of their broken boiler or heating systems themselves. They do not have to be, or become, an npower customer.

For more information about the scheme or to find out if you’re eligible, visit www.healththroughwarmth.com or contact Leicester City Council on 0116 454 3782 or at healththroughwarmth@leicester.gov.uk.

 

*NHS funding was provided by Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group.