The long, dark and cold winter nights won’t be quite so daunting for Rainworth resident Joy Cook who now enjoys a full gas central heating system at her home for the first time in 15 years.
Mrs Cook was previously reliant on electric storage heaters to keep the temperature bearable but they were costly and inefficient and just didn’t provide the warmth you’d expect for modern day living.
She is now one of 82 households on the estate – some of whom were paying up to £50 a week to heat their homes – benefitting from an initiative set up by Newark & Sherwood District Council’s Energy and Home Support Team.
Joy said: It was hard keep the house warm. When I first contacted the council the heater in my bedroom was broken and the water wasn’t heating up properly I was getting really desperate. They worked their magic and I now have a fully fitted gas central heating system.”
The Council applied to the Warm Homes Fund, established by the National Grid and Community Interest Company, Affordable Warmth Solution (AWS). This supports local authorities, registered social landlords and other organisations to address some of the issues affecting fuel poor households.
The aims of the fund are to reduce bills, increase comfort in non-gas fuel poor households, and improve health outcomes for some of the most severe levels of fuel poverty. The scheme in Rainworth has been delivered via grant funding so is at no cost to residents or the council (other than officer time).
Around four million UK households are estimated to be living in fuel poverty, unable to heat their home to the temperature needed to stay warm and healthy. As well as being on low incomes many of these households are also faced with the additional burden of relying on heating systems that are expensive to run and/or inadequate for their needs.
Partners involved in the project were: Affordable Warmth Solutions (AWS) that works in partnership with Cadent (Gas Network Operator) to meet the challenges of fuel poverty and energy efficient homes. Working with local authorities and energy companies they are committed to funding new gas connections to some of the most deprived communities in England; Agility Eco – a private sector company that plans, manages, funds and delivers carbon reduction and renewable energy projects across the UK; UK Gas Services Ltd– an East Midlands based main contractor who specialises in providing energy efficient heating systems & total property maintenance, with over 25 years’ experience.
Warm Homes on Prescription (WHOP)
Joy Cook first contacted the Council through Nottinghamshire Warm Homes on Prescription (WHOP) project and was provided with a short-term solution to her heating problem before central heating could be fitted. WHOP aims to help low income residents with cold-sensitive long-term health conditions to achieve affordable warmth.
In 2018/19, WHOP received 79 enquiries from vulnerable residents, resulting in an investment of almost £100,000 on 46 major energy efficiency improvement measures (e.g. boilers, insulation etc.) and 72 referrals to partner agencies for other, relevant support services. In addition, more than £34,000 of Energy Company Obligation grant funding has been used to fund/part-fund 17 other capital energy efficiency improvement measures as part of the WHOP scheme. This year, the council anticipates around £135,000 will be invested in energy efficiency improvement measures via the WHOP scheme.
To enquire about WHOP please contact the Energy and Home Support team on 01636 650000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Further details available at https://www.newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk/energy/warmhomesonprescription/