Charity awarded funding to alleviate fuel poverty in Northumberland

Community Action Northumberland has been awarded funding to alleviate fuel poverty in the local area.

By Ian Smith
Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 1:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 1:53 pm
Seahouses hub
Seahouses hub

It was among the winners in National Energy Action's Warm and Safe Homes Campaign (WASH), announced to mark the beginning of Big Energy Saving Week.

WASH is an annual campaign to raise awareness of the impact of cold homes on health and safety and the solutions available to make homes warmer and safer. As part of the campaign, NEA has provided funding to 25 organisations across the UK to run community events at a local level to help vulnerable people with their energy needs.

The event will take place at the Seahouses Hub, Stone Close, Seahouses on Friday, February 15 at 11.30-3pm and will cover energy support provided through switching, the Priority Services Register, information about renewables, and energy saving measures. Community Action Northumberland will be purchasing slow cookers and working with the foodbank to showcase this and other energy saving equipment.

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They will work with a chef and the local community and make up healthy meals via the slow cookers and using foodbank items that people will donate on the day and then be able to try over the lunchtime period. They will be giving the slow cookers away at the end of the event as part of the foodbank scheme.

They will be working with organisations including CAB, NCC and NHS to carry out assessments on attendance allowance, pension credit and other benefits. They will also engage with village halls, parish councils, warm hubs, the Rotary Club, youth groups, Polish groups and hubs for the unemployed. They are planning to hold an event in Seahouses as it is a large off-gas settlement whose demographics include elderly people as well as families; it has a strong Polish and Latvian community.

Maria Wardrobe, director of communications and external relations at National Energy Action said: “Last winter the number of excess winter deaths was the highest since 1975. It is a tragedy that so many people die or suffer the health impacts of living in a cold home when they are largely preventable. This is why NEA committed to provide funding to so many different organisations across the country.

"We anticipate that the funding will make it possible for Community Action Northumberland to provide much-needed support for residents within the local area.”

The funding was supplemented by Calor in rural areas upon recognising the increased costs of delivering fuel poverty projects in rural areas.

Paul Blacklock, head of strategy and corporate affairs at Calor said: “We’re delighted that Community Action Northumberland has been awarded this funding from NEA’s Warm and Safe Homes Campaign.

"As a major energy supplier to rural homes, Calor has been working with NEA for over a decade now on rural fuel poverty and one of the realities is that it costs more to do anything in rural areas which is why we have provided the extra funding to allow organisations to get things done. We are really looking forward to seeing the outputs from the project.”

MP, Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “‘I am delighted to be supporting this fantastic initiative by Community Action Northumberland to tackle issues of fuel poverty especially in our most rural communities.

"There are many great schemes, including Government funds, available to help those facing fuel poverty, and it important that those who need them are aware of them and are assisted in accessing the support which is available. I stand by to do all I can to assist too.

"As well as having communities who are off-gas in Northumberland, we also have those living in areas, such as the National Park, which cannot be serviced with mains electricity. This is an issue I am hoping to raise in the Commons once more in the coming weeks”.