Fire and Rescue Services are working in partnership with health to help keep older people safe and warm during the winter months.
Foundations Independent Living Trust is delighted to be working alongside The British Red Cross and Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to support older people living in St Helens.
The St Helens Support at Home team of Red Cross staff, volunteers and a health trainer are based in the local area and are able to offer practical and emotional support at home to help improve health and wellbeing and maintain independence.
The team are able to refer vulnerable people to St Helens Home Improvement Agency for advice on home adaptations and keeping their home warm and funding is available from FILT for eligible individuals.
The fifth annual Gas Safety Week (14 – 19 Sept 2015) will see organisations across the UK working together to raise awareness of the dangers of poorly maintained gas appliances, which cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. In the last year, at least 68,000 homes in the UK escaped deadly gas incidents such as these, by engineers switching off dangerous appliances. Nearly one in two of these incidents were caused because a gas appliance had not been regularly serviced and had been left in a poor state.
With 20 deaths and 1,000 gas-related injuries in the last three years, it’s vital that people make sure their gas appliances are safety checked every year by a registered engineer. Anyone working on gas appliances while not being Gas Safe registered, is working illegally.
We are also delighted that the independent Gas Safe Charity has confirmed a further award of funding to Foundations Independent Living Trust.
FILT helps older, vulnerable and disabled people to stay warm, safe and well their homes. They do this by distributing funds to home improvement agencies and handypersons services across England. The funding will be used for completion of specified gas safety works for vulnerable clients.
FILT has been working on behalf of the Gas Safe Charity throughout the past year to provide help to 825 households through vital work such as gas safety checks, boiler servicing and repairs, pipework repairs and checks and repairs to gas fires. Gordon Lishman CBE, chair of the charity, emphasised the value and achievements of the programme, which has been successful in doubling the charity’s support by accessing grants from other sources: “we are impressed by the effectiveness of this initiative in supporting people who need that extra bit of help to carry on managing in their own homes”.
Vulnerable people such as Mr Jones who is 76 and lives alone. He suffers with dementia, arthritis and heart failure, is in constant pain and has poor mobility.
Due to confusion and poor mobility, Mr Jones was sleeping downstairs in a chair. He had a gas fire in the living room which was not working properly and therefore needed disconnecting. Due to his illness he had no awareness of gas safety and had previously left the gas cooker on, sometimes not ignited.
Mr Jones was unable to pay for the necessary changes to be made to his property which would keep him safe. He was awarded £246 through the Gas Safety Charity to disconnect the mains gas supply and make changes so he could live more safely in his home.
Jonathan Samuel, managing director for Gas Safe Register, said: “We know from our own investigations that one in six gas appliances in the UK are unsafe, meaning far too many people are victims of preventable gas related incidents. It’s great to have the support of Foundations this Gas Safety Week so that we can work together to raise public awareness of gas safety and reduce the number of dangerous gas appliances lurking in the homes of the UK’s 23 million gas consumers.”
Follow these three simple top tips to stay gas safe:
• Get all of your gas appliances safety checked once a year by a registered engineer and sign up to a free reminder service at www.StayGasSafe.co.uk
• Make sure your engineer is legal and safe, by making sure they are registered with Gas Safe Register, the UK’s official gas authority. You can check by calling 0800 408 5500 or visiting www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk
• Check for warning signs your appliances aren’t working correctly, such as a lazy yellow flame instead of a crisp blue one, black marks on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room.
 Gas Safe Register surveyed 1,658 registered engineers in June 2014. Amongst surveyed gas engineers, 57 per cent said they had switched off a deadly appliance in the last year. There are 120,000 registered engineers, so 57 per cent equates to at least 68,000 homes avoiding a deadly gas incident.
 45 per cent of engineers surveyed said the reason they had to turn off a gas appliance in the past 12 months was because the appliance had been poorly maintained.
 20 people died from gas related incidents in the UK in the last three years and 961 non-fatalities were reported (Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/tables/ridgas.xls statistics 2011-14 (provisional))
 Gas Safe Register has inspected gas appliances in 121,587 homes across Great Britain for the period 1 April 2010 – 1 May 2014. One in six (17.1%) were identified as unsafe.
The Compulsive Hoarding Project began as an innovative two year research and development project between the Orbit Coventry Care and Repair team, a Home Improvement Agency, Coventry University and the Knowledge Transfer Partnership. The initial aims of the project were to explore the most effective ways of addressing compulsive hoarding at a local level, as well as addressing the environmental impact of hoarding, promoting healthy living and exploring the social isolation many people with hoarding tendencies experience.
This week has seen yet more negative articles about older people, now labelling those who choose to live in their current home as ‘hogging family homes’. Not only does this negative language drive intergenerational strife, but it also deflects attention from the underlying problems of a dysfunctional housing market.
This emotive promotion of the benefits of moving to retirement housing doesn’t exactly support our efforts to make the case for the continuation of help with home adaptations, the best and often the only housing solution for the majority of older people, particularly those on limited incomes.