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‘Cosy Homes Pembrokeshire’
Introduction and context
Fuel poverty is a 21st Century scandal in Wales and the UK. It is recognised as such by governments, academics, the third sector, consumer groups and the energy industry. The level of fuel poverty is increasing and not diminishing, despite a wide range of schemes, measures and legislation designed to support those at risk or in fuel poverty.
Eco Centre Wales (ECW) has been working to assist the fuel poor and relieve the symptoms of fuel poverty around Wales for many years. Through this experience, and what we have observed as a result of statutory schemes, we have developed a project that clearly has a place in the current landscape.
We acknowledge all the work being done to tackle fuel poverty and eradicate it from Wales over the next decade or so. But we still come across people who seem to be ineligible for any of the mainstream services. It is these households that this project will help. Our experience is that the most vulnerable households (whether of one person or more) are rarely in a position to help themselves or find help for themselves. They are usually being supported by a charity or agency for one of a number of other problems. And it is through this that their fuel poverty can be identified.
The project is aimed at the most vulnerable people who are struggling with their energy use and those who are suffering with cold and damp related illnesses due to not having adequate heating and insulation. The Cosy Homes Advisor will be available to provide home visits, look at options, solutions, grants and funding that can be accessed to help finance the measures required, and will also support the client through the whole process to ensure that the vulnerable and the infirm are able to heat their homes adequately and at a reasonable cost.
Cosy Homes Pembrokeshire will work with partners across Pembrokeshire to identify households in extreme need of expert support to help them deal with a range of issues that are causing or contributing to their fuel poverty. Our experience so far is that these households benefit in a number of ways from this level of intervention. They reduce their fuel bills, improve their energy efficiency and levels of comfort and warmth, and, arguably, more importantly their quality of life and well being improves.
What the will project achieve
This project is very deliberately focussed on individuals and households in fuel poverty and/or at risk of cold related illness. There may be many reasons why a household is in this situation, and this project will address many of them.
People who have trouble managing their energy use, and therefore pay more than they need to, will receive advice on using their heating system, hot water system, appliances and on monitoring energy use. This will include interpreting their bills, using energy monitors, assessing if they are on the right tariff.
People who have no adequate heating system because they can't afford it, or because they need support to help them get quotes for installation will be helped to identify the best type of heating system and an installer to install it. If they need financial assistance the project officer will look on their behalf for appropriate funding and help them apply for it.
In all cases the project will ensure that all households have adequate measures in place to reduce energy waste e.g. insulation in the loft and walls, draught excluders and tank jackets etc. ; possibly external wall insulation if the property has solid walls. These will primarily be from a mainstream source, but provision will be in place to help those that fall outside of the mainstream.
If a household falls outside of all the mainstream criteria to qualify for assistance this project will locate a 'crisis fund' - a fund of last resort, to ensure that everyone who needs help gets it.
Beneficiaries could be young families with financial problems, elderly people, people with medical problems or special needs. Our experience is that whatever the profile of the beneficiaries a lack of expert support in this area of energy use contributes to their situation. Our involvement will makes a big difference.
The main way households will benefit is through a marked improvement in their circumstances either financially, with less money being spent on energy, or in terms of well being, with a warmer home and greater control over their energy use.
In all cases, their general quality of life will be improved as will their sense of connected-ness.
We have found in our pilot work that self esteem rises because the level of intervention from us and its outcomes.
How to access this service.
use the contact form and the details there to get in touch with our project manager, who will get back in touch with you to take your enquiry forward.