Council receives funding to help keep people warm this winter

Wakefield Council have received £153,000 through the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership (WY HCP) to help residents keep warm and well this winter.  

The funding will support four projects which will provide affordable warmth by supporting low-income households to save energy and improve their home energy efficiency, help with energy debt and general money and debt advice, and helping people access additional support they are entitled to.

The four projects are:

  • A new dedicated Council ‘Warmer Homes Outreach Worker’ – tasked with building links, new partnerships, raising awareness and supporting residents to apply for fuel poverty support.
  • Private Rented Sector Essential Heating Improvements – heating grants to support low-income private tenants with heating improvements
  • Energy Debt Fund – emergency grants to help residents in energy debt
  • Healthier Wealthier Families – additional resources for this WDH project that provides vulnerable families with financial and wellbeing support
Darren Byford smiling
Cllr Darren Byford

The projects will start this winter and run throughout the year providing long term support to local residents into next winter.

Cllr Darren Byford, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Regeneration and Property, said: “We are delighted to have secured this funding to make households in our district warmer and heathier. We know that energy inefficient homes are expensive to run and leave some people struggling to pay their energy bills so these four projects will go a long way to help reduce the risk of fuel poverty.”

Maureen Cummings smiling
Cllr Maureen Cummings

Cllr Maureen Cummings, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Poverty and Health, said: “We recognise that many households are facing very challenging times financially, and now these additional energy costs will be a major worry for some residents in our district.

“Everyone deserves to live in a warm and healthy home and that’s why we are determined to offer advice and a strong package of support for everyone who needs it.”

Andy Wallhead, Chief Executive of WDH, said: “We are delighted to extend our successful partnership with our health and care partners. Our Cash Wise service helps parents or families in the Wakefield district who are struggling financially by providing support to manage household budgets, applying for benefits and accessing grants as well as assisting in reducing utility costs and maintaining a warmer home. We understand that these are difficult times for people and we want to do everything we can to help. The funding provided for the Healthier Wealthier Families project will allow us to provide even more support for more families who need it.”

The WY HCP of NHS, local councils, housing associations and the voluntary community social enterprise sector is working across Bradford district and Craven, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, and Wakefield. The funding aims to benefit people, through a boost to existing projects such as home insulation, boiler repairs, financial savings and benefits advice and heating grants, with the aim of reducing health risks associated with poor housing and cold homes.

Across West Yorkshire 169,000 households, 18% of the 2.4 million people (Source Gov.UK Sub-regional fuel poverty data 2021), are having a difficult choice to make on whether to spend money on fuel or food – all influenced by a household’s income, energy efficiency and costs.

The impact of cold homes is estimated to cost the NHS £2billion every year in England and Wales, with people needing extra care from their GP and hospitals for illnesses such as heart attacks and stroke, respiratory illness, falls, hypothermia and influenza during – for example, hospital admissions for COPD are four times more likely in winter months.

Whilst the greatest impact of winter deaths is in the elderly, it happens across all ages, with people living in poorer communities more likely to be affected. It impacts on their mental health and wellbeing, as well as their children’s health, for example asthma and bronchitis.

More information about these projects will be announced on the Council’s website and social media over the coming weeks.