Help during cold weather for hard-up

RESIDENTS in fuel poverty will get help during the cold weather thanks to a successful grant bid by Horsham District Council.

All the councils in West Sussex have been granted funding of more than half a million pounds to deliver a co-ordinated programme of winter warmth assistance this winter to help tackle fuel poverty and increase emergency response capacity during cold weather.

Horsham District Council, Adur District Council, Arun District Council, Chichester District Council, Crawley Borough Council, Mid Sussex District Council and Worthing Borough Council all successfully bid for £617,800 from the Department of Health funding.

It will fund the ‘Warmer West Sussex’ programme. Eligible residents across West Sussex will be offered free home visits from qualified energy assessors managed by Climate Energy.

The visits will offer advice on getting the best deal on energy, how to use heating controls effectively and keeping warm and saving energy in the home.

There will also be up to £50 worth of free energy saving kit provided, such as draught proofing, hot water tank jackets and energy monitors as well as a survey for insulation and free grant work (subject to criteria and availability).

The home visitors will signpost a range of wider assistance such as the Warm Front grant for heating and insulation.

The funding will also be used to increase capacity of local voluntary and statutory organisations.

This will include funding for West Sussex Citizen Advice Bureaus to conduct home visit benefit checks, funding for the British Red Cross and parish councils to purchase buy winter kits and funding for the West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to increase capacity to deliver Home Fire Safety Checks.

Others involved with supporting and targeting the project include the newly formed Wellbeing Hubs, Prevention Assessment Teams, Carers’ Support Service and Age UK.

The programme will be targeted to meet the aims of the fund and will run until the end of March 2012.

Andrew Baldwin, Horsham cabinet member for the environment, said: “Many households are under enormous pressure to make ends meet, especially due to high fuel bills.

“This initiative should help prevent some people having to live in a old house this winter.

“The energy advisors will be able to offer useful advice and practical assistance tailored to individuals’ homes. I would encourage anyone that is contacted by Climate Energy to take up the offer of a visit.”