Residents on limited incomes could benefit from new funding to replace broken gas boilers this winter.
Herefordshire Council are one of only a handful of Councils nationally who are able to access the Emergency Central Heating Offer (ECHO) – delivered via the council’s energy advice service Keep Herefordshire Warm.
A broken boiler during the winter months can be a worrying and stressful experience. For those in poor health, old age and with limited cash, the prospect of cold related ill health is very real – and many worry of ending up in hospital. With widespread reports of pressures on the NHS in the winter months due to cold conditions, Herefordshire Council are keen to do all they can to help householders stay warm and safe in their homes.
Robert, from Hereford, contacted Keep Herefordshire Warm after his old gas boiler broke down, leaving him and his wife without heating and hot water. Robert cares for his wife, relying on pensions and with little spare cash, they faced the prospect of entering the colder months without effective heating. He had been unable to access funding earlier in the year.
Robert was referred for emergency support. Less than two weeks after contact was made a new boiler and radiators were installed throughout the home.
The Keep Herefordshire Warm scheme provides free and impartial energy advice to local residents through an advice line, home visits and community events. Residents are supported to access grants to repair and replace heating and improve insulation.
Many people are unaware of the risks that living in a cold home present to their health. The risk of a stroke or heart attack rises, and other conditions such as colds and flu can become more likely. Just putting on another jumper or relying on one heater isn’t enough for many people.
Keep Herefordshire Warm Project manager Oliver Rothwell said:
“We often take calls from people concerned about neighbours or friends who are struggling – either with a crisis like a broken boiler, or often because they are facing daily decisions about whether to heat or eat. Many people struggle on with broken or intermittent systems, unaware that they could be eligible for help. With the new Emergency Central Heating Offer and home visit support available, we hope to be in a position to help”.
As well as funding for energy efficiency measures, the service can offer advice on energy tariffs and discounts, suppliers, and how to better use energy at home.
The Keep Herefordshire Warm team can be contacted on Freephone 0800 677 1432. Advice is free and impartial to all residents, and covers a wide range of energy topics. Funding is subject to eligibility criteria, and residents hoping to access funding will need to provide personal information such as their household income or the benefits they receive as part of an assessment.