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Warm Hubs work puts gas company in line for award

Northern Gas Networks and Community Action Northumberland launch Warm Hubs at Crookham Village Hall.''Tom Bell and Christine Nicholls.
Northern Gas Networks and Community Action Northumberland launch Warm Hubs at Crookham Village Hall.''Tom Bell and Christine Nicholls.

Northern Gas Networks (NGN) has been shortlisted for a prize at this year’s Utility Week Awards for its programme to combat fuel poverty.

NGN has been shortlisted in the Community Initiative of the Year category for its Warm Hubs initiative, a pioneering project, in partnership with Community Action Northumberland, that aims to help residents facing the misery of fuel poverty, isolation and loneliness.

The hubs provide warm, friendly places, staffed by volunteers, where customers living in vulnerable situations, usually in areas that aren’t connected to the gas network, can go to socialise, get warm, have a hot meal and access information, advice and referrals to relevant support.

Twenty Warm Hubs are now thriving in Northumberland and more than 1,000 residents attend each week during the winter.

Tom Bell, NGN head of social strategy, said: “Fuel poverty is a problem throughout our region so we launched our Warm Hubs scheme to reach out to those residents who are living in uncomfortable conditions and struggling to keep warm. We are honoured to hear that the scheme has been shortlisted at the Utility Week Awards.”

Christine Nicholls, from Community Action Northumberland, said: “They are a simple and effective way of bringing people together who otherwise may become isolated and lonely, and struggling with heating their homes.”