Stay warm this winter
Save money and stay warm this winter
More than 25,000 households in Shropshire live in 'fuel poverty' according to Government figures. With so many people struggling to heat their homes, find out what you can do to save money and what help is available.
According to the Keep Shropshire Warm campaign, around 25,000 households in the county are spending over 10% of their annual income heating their homes - putting them among the UK's 'fuel poor'.
As many as one in six homes in Britain could be living in fuel poverty, according to Consumer Focus. The organisation, which until recently was known as Energywatch, estimates that more than four million households in the UK are spending at least 10% of their income on heating.
The government suggests three main factors lead to fuel poverty:
In 2007 12 million people aged 60 and over received Winter Fuel Payments. This year one-off payments of £50 are being awarded to households that include people aged 60-79, and £100 for anyone 80 or over. There's also been an increase in the Cold Weather Payment from £8.50 to £25 per week.
Help available in Shropshire
The Keep Shropshire Warm campaign was set up in 2007 with government funding, to identify people who are struggling to afford to heat their homes properly. It's managed by Marches Energy Agency and a team of experts offer advice on how you can make your home more energy efficient and what financial help might be available.
For example, you're entitled to free loft and cavity wall insulation if you're over 70 and pay council tax to a Shropshire Council (excluding Telford & Wrekin). If you receive benefits you might be entitled to certain grants or discounts, and everyone can get free advice on being more energy efficient.
Steve Windmill from the Marches Energy Agency says they've helped around 5,000 homes this year alone: "At this moment in time, credit crunch and cold weather, we're taking around about 100-150 calls a week, mostly about insulation."
Contractors employed by the agency are insulating 80-90 lofts a week as well as cavity walls. The grants are provided by an energy supplier and the Marches Energy Agency works on their behalf.
If you want more information to find out whether you might be eligible for a grant or discount in getting your home insulated, you can contact Keep Shropshire Warm on 01743 277123 or visit the website.
Telford & Wrekin's Affordable Warmth team operate a similar service. For advice or information on what grants are available, contact the freephone number 0800 512012.
DIY tips for a warmer home
As well as the core issues such as double glazing, loft insulation and cavity wall insulation, there are a number of simple changes you can make to ensure your home is as warm as possible, ensuring you save money on your fuel bills.
The government has pledged to eradicate fuel poverty in homes where there are children, elderly, sick or disabled people by 2010, and end it completely in other homes by 2016.
last updated: 04/12/2008 at 12:22