Around 1 in 9 British households live in fuel poverty. Millions of people can’t afford to heat their homes and many suffer from cold-related illness, often exacerbated by poor housing.
Researchers from Bangor University recently examined the impact of warmer social housing on population health and the use of NHS services in the north-west. They found housing improvements reduced the use of NHS services by 16% per household, saving £20,000 in just six months.
Importantly, people were also healthier and happier with a third no longer showing signs of fuel poverty.
At FILT, we know the difference that small home improvements can make to people who face the choice of eating or heating.
We help thousands of people each year via our grants progammes to live warm, safe and well in their homes.
Just like Miss Mapstone, an 84 year old who lives alone. She was recently visted by Care & Repair to install hand and stair rails after she had suffered a broken wrist after a fall.
During the home visit the Caseworker picked up Miss Mapstone’s nervousness about using her heating. They discovered that the central heating boiler had not been serviced since it was installed over four years ago and the gas fire, which was over 20 years old, had never been serviced.
With the help of a Gas Safety grant of £110, Care & Repair arranged for the gas boiler and gas fire to be serviced. Unfortunately the gas fire was unsafe and had to be removed.
Miss Mapstone is now happy to use her heating and said: “I feel so much safer knowing my boiler has been serviced and is running how it should. I was a bit concerned about the fire, and although it was condemned and taken away, I’m still pleased as I would have been using it (the fire) in the winter.
“Now the colder weather is here I’ve started to turn my central heating on without any worries and I know I’ll be warm and safe this winter.”
A small grant – about double the average weekly food shop – has delivered huge benefits.
To learn more about how FILT supports vulnerable people and the grants available, visit http://www.filt.org.uk and remember everything Begins at Home.