Fuel Poverty levels in Devon have been on the increase in recent years, and whilst projects like Healthy Homes for Wellbeing, run by Exeter Community Energy (ECOE) have been tackling this issue head on via their drop in energy clinics and in depth home visits across the region, there is still a lot more that could be done.
The new Winter Warmth campaign from ECOE highlights the issues of fuel poverty and hard to heat homes faced by local residents each and every winter. Having recently launched the Healthy Homes Hardship Fund, ECOE is seeking donations, which they hope will make a world of difference. If residents receive the Winter Fuel Payment but don’t need it, they are being asked to donate it for the Hardship Fund to help others keep warm. Small grants will be available for households struggling to make ends meet. These grants will help provide things like an oil-filled electric heaters or blankets, paying for boiler repairs or replacing a broken fridge or cooker.
“During our first two years of the Healthy Homes project, we have seen too many examples of extreme poverty and we realised in many situations just a small grant could make all the difference to a struggling household.” commented Gill Wyatt, project manager.
The national Fuel Poverty Awareness Day takes place on 29th November this year. ECOE, as well as other organisations trying to combat this issue, will be highlighting stark statistics. 11.6% of households in Devon are living in Fuel Poverty. Often they are living in hard to heat homes and many also have health issues such as respiratory and cardiovascular problems and depression. Shockingly, in Devon, more than 500 people may die from cold weather deaths this winter.
“As the weather gets colder its much harder for people in fuel poverty and those living in hard to heat homes. It’s keeping us busy - the demand for home visits is high. Donations to our Winter Warmth Campaign will really help others keep warm this winter.” Gill continues “The downward spiral created by fuel poverty, hard to heat homes and health conditions are intensified by winter.That’s the sad reality. And we’d like to be able to use our Hardship Fund to help keep people warm this winter.”
Donating unneeded winter fuel payments to the Winter Warmth campaign helps local people play an active and significant role in reducing fuel poverty and hardship this winter. Donations can be made via the ECOE website at https://www.ecoe.org.uk/winterwarmth/ or by calling 0800 772 3617