With Fuel Poverty Awareness Day taking place on Friday, 23 February, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and its partners are reminding residents that practical advice and support is available to people through the npower Health Through Warmth Scheme.
A common reason that some people live in a cold home is because they are living in fuel poverty – meaning they spend a disproportionate amount of their income on heating their home.
As well as providing information and guidance, eligible people – who meet a set criteria such as long-term illness and income factors – may also be able to access funding for things like repairing or replacing broken boilers, new central heating systems, gas connections and loft and cavity insulation.
Councillor Symon Fraser, cabinet portfolio holder for strategic asset management, housing and environment at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: "We know that there are many people across the East Riding who struggle to keep their home warm over the winter and the council is keen to provide support to residents where it is needed.
"The npower Health Through Warmth Scheme has successfully run for 12 years, helping over 5,500 households and by carrying out £6 million of energy efficiency improvements
"Living in a cold home is widely acknowledged as being bad for a person's health, both physically and mentally, and can make problems such as isolation, depression and circulatory and respiratory conditions worse.
"We would encourage anyone who has a friend, neighbour or family member who could benefit from the npower Health Through Warmth to find out more."
Many people are referred to the scheme by members of council staff as well as NHS professionals, officers at Humberside Fire & Rescue and volunteers with the Citizen's Advice Bureau who have been trained to spot the signs that someone may be living in fuel poverty.
One of those who have been trained is Bridlington GP Dr Mike Hardman.
Dr Hardman said: "Bridlington is an area where fuel poverty levels are quite high. Thanks to the training I have received, I have been able to refer a number of patients to the npower Health Through Warmth Scheme allowing them to continue living independently and reduce the pressure on health and social services, particularly at a challenging time of the year such as winter."
For more information about Health Through Warmth, visit www.eastriding.gov.uk/HTW or call (01482) 396301.