Keeping older people warm and out of fuel poverty in Surrey

Imagine being in your 90s and unwell, living alone without heating and hot water because you can’t afford to replace a failed boiler.

That was the case for two Surrey women who both faced a cold and miserable winter, and the possibility of having to move out of their own home. The stress for both them and their families was undeniable.

Enter Care and Repair Elmbridge (CARE) and Independent Home Solutions in Brockham, two Home Improvement Agencies (HIAs) funded to make vital repairs via grants from Foundations Independent Living Trust (FILT).

The £3000 grants are part of a seed fund from Sutton energy and telecommunications firm MAXIMeyes, provided as part of its Fuel the Change initiative. FILT and MAXIMeyes have teamed up to lift more people out of fuel poverty.

Thanks to the grants, the HIAs were able to conduct a full Warm Home Energy Assessment and organise the boilers to be replaced in each home. Both ladies now have peace of mind, not to mention heating and hot water which enables them to continue living independently in their own home.

The worry about paying for the boiler has now gone, and the risk of cold-related illness has been minimised.

FILT Chair, Sara McKee, said: “This story is a prime example of how a simple maintenance job can make a big difference to someone’s health and wellbeing. There are thousands of people like these two ladies in Surrey who are going without heating or hot water because they can’t afford to replace an old or dangerous boiler.

“They shouldn’t have to make a choice between eating or heating and I’m pleased that FILT, working with the HIAs and corporate supporters like MAXIMeyes, is able to step into the breach.”

Extra money available to keep South Yorkshire homes warmer

Yorkshire Housing’s Home Improvement Agency in Sheffield is delivering the ‘Warm at Home’ project which helps vulnerable people who might be suffering fuel poverty.

This funding is available to home owners, free of charge and will be welcomed by many as we prepare for colder weather. The funding is available to access all year round.

The project has received £13,000 from the Foundations Independent Living Trust, who is working in partnership with the Gas Safe Charity to provide heating measures in Rotherham, Barnsley and Sheffield. The scheme aims to help vulnerable people to access the support available.

Home Improvement Agency manager Layla Gorman said: “Funds like these are critical to the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people. Many people aren’t aware they are living in fuel poverty and suffer in silence in the cold. We urge the residents of South Yorkshire to get in touch to see if we can help put measures in place so that they are warmer when they need to be.”

To find if you’re eligible, call Yorkshire Housing’s Sheffield office on: 0114 256 4270 or go to:


Taylor Wimpey donation helps vulnerable people live in dignity in own homes

Our charity, which helps older and vulnerable people stay warm, safe and well in their own home has benefited from a large donation from Taylor Wimpey.

The housebuilder has given £20,000 to the Foundations Independent Living Trust (FILT) to provide grants to fund vital home improvements when no other support is available. A further £1,400 was also given to our charity on behalf of Taylor Wimpey staff.

The donation will help FILT fund Home Improvement Agencies (HIA) to undertake repair or maintenance work that can help stave off fuel poverty, protect against carbon monoxide poisoning, or provide flood protection.

Last year our charity provided aid to around 3,500 people across England and Taylor Wimpey’s donation will mean FILT will be able to reach an extra 130 of the most vulnerable in the country.

Sara McKee, Chair of FILT, said: “Generous donations from companies like Taylor Wimpey enable us to continue reaching those people who would otherwise slip through the cracks and become a statistic.

The money they’ve donated will go towards grants that help vulnerable people have the basic necessities in life like being able to cook safely, keep their house warm, or have a hot shower. It will also ensure people can return to a warm and safe home after a hospital stay, while reducing the risk of health conditions escalating into emergencies.

“Many of the people we work with are disconnected from their community, through ill-health or social isolation. They are often missed by other services so the HIAs also help people access support ranging from counselling to benefit advice, in addition to doing repairs and maintenance.

James Jordan, the Group Legal Director and Company Secretary from Taylor Wimpey plc, said: “FILT does amazing work and we’re both delighted and very proud to be able to help them reach even more older and vulnerable people who may not be able to receive from other servicess. We know the impact good housing has on improving people’s health and wellbeing, so it’s great to be a part of FILT’s efforts to ensure people can live in a warm and safe home.”

Grants available from FILT include:

  • Health Through Warmth Crisis fund. This can help towards costs of new heating and energy efficiency measures for people who have a cold-related illness;
  • Health Through Warmth rapid care funding, which helps homeowners who are without heating or hot water;
  • Gas Safety grants can provide up to £500 to help make sure gas appliances like gas boilers and cookers are in working order.
  • Safe and Warm grants to carry out minor works to enable independent living, reduce hazards; provide energy efficiency (including cavity wall and loft insulation), draught-proofing; drainage and heating issues, etc. Between £250 and £7,500 is potentially available for those that meet the qualifying criteria.