Blackpool Carers Centre has won funding to carry out a twelve month project supporting carers to lower their household energy bills. The project named ‘Keeping Carers Warm’ is aimed at those carers with children up to the age of eighteen in the household who are experiencing fuel poverty.
Fuel poverty is defined as more than ten per cent of the total household income being spent on energy bills.
Chris Lear of the Keeping Carers Warm project said; “We are thrilled to have been awarded this money from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, which will enable the project to locate and empower those in fuel poverty; the funding is very timely given the time of year”. Chris added, “fuel poverty is generally a result of three elements: low household income, low energy efficiency standard of a property and high energy costs, as part of the project we will be tackling all three of these areas.
“We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Citizens Advice Bureau to deliver this project.
Children living in cold homes are far more likely to suffer from physical and mental health problems than those living in warm homes and their parents have to make difficult decisions on whether to heat the home or put food on the table.
This is an important project for the charity as the weather starts to turn colder in the coming weeks. Blackpool Carers Centre will be able to support those families which are perhaps some of the most vulnerable in Blackpool, including signposting them to other services for additional support when appropriate.
Last Christmas Eve, a support worker spent all day trying to source funding for fuel cards for a family. The family were living in a house without heating or lighting as their benefits had been suspended. This raised awareness within the team at Blackpool Carers Centre that an increasing number or carers are living in unacceptable conditions.
High energy prices rises, combined with recent government cuts to family income and benefits and the rising cost of living all add to the reasons why more households with children in Blackpool may fall into fuel poverty in the coming year.
The most likely families which can fall into fuel poverty are those in private rented homes. This is mainly because this type of housing tends to be the least energy efficient.
Measures such as replacing light bulbs with energy efficient ones will help to keep lighting costs down and draught proofing windows and doors will help to keep rooms warmer. For more substantial measures such as loft insulation and cavity wall insulation there are grants available.
The Keeping Carers Warm project will be inviting users of the service to attend informal sessions on lowering energy costs in the home as well as offering practical assistance to make their homes more energy efficient and keep fuel costs down during the colder months.
Individuals are welcome to self-refer into the ‘Keeping Carers Warm’ project as are other services in Blackpool, and can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning 01253 393748.