Pay Apply Report

Partnership approach to help hard to heat homes in Eden

People sat in front of an open fireThe formation of an Affordable Warmth Partnership and the future development of new central points of contact for the public to access help and support for their homes’ energy saving needs was approved tonight (Tuesday 5 March 2019) by Eden District Council’s Executive.

In 2016, 2,669 households out of an estimated 23,847 in Eden District were in fuel poverty and a further 952 had no form of space heating.

Fuel Poverty, in Eden is being exacerbated by the fact that there is a predominance of older traditional stone built properties, with solid walls, which can be hard to heat. Eden’s rural areas are also predominantly not connected to a mains gas supply. In 2017, Eden had 26,572 properties, of which 66.4% were not linked to a mains gas supply.

Eden District Council’s Deputy Leader and Health and Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor Lesley Grisedale, said: “Instances of fuel poverty vary widely in Eden, with 26 out of the area’s 30 wards having more than 10% of their households in fuel poverty, so these residents are spending more than 10% of their income on just heating their homes.

“Through the creation of the Eden Affordable Warmth Partnership we want people to be able to easily access the help available to tackle fuel poverty through one central advice and information point. Eden District Council is committing up to £20,000 per annum over the next two years to help fund this single public contact point, with other partners also making financial contributions to support this new service. Overall, by bringing public and private sector organisation together we can co-ordinate our efforts and make a really positive difference to addressing this important issue.”

The partnership is currently chaired by Eden District Council and comprises of the following organisations:

  • Eden Integrated Care Community
  • Cumbria County Council
  • Northern Gas Networks
  • Electricity North West
  • Cumbria Action for Sustainability
  • Eden Housing Association
  • Carlisle and Eden Citizens Advice (CACE)

Dr Ashley Liston. GP lead for Eden ICC said: “Eden Integrated Care Community is delighted to be a partner in this project which has allowed us to develop a closer working relationship with Eden District Council. Fuel poverty is known to be associated with increased illness and even excess winter death with some patient groups being particularly vulnerable. With Eden having one of the highest levels of fuel poverty in the country we see this initiative having the potential to have a very significant impact on improving the health and wellbeing in our community.

“Eden ICC has this week launched a Social Prescribing scheme with a 'Living Well Coach' being attached to each of our ten GP surgeries. We are delighted to know that this new service will be available for patients who may present with social issues relating to loneliness, isolation, financial hardship and housing worries which can all be linked to the problem of fuel poverty.”

Detailed terms of references, and an associated action plan, are being developed, however the partnership has the following broad aims and objectives:

  • Ensure a high profile for affordable warmth in Eden
  • Reduction in the incidence of excess Winter Deaths
  • Raised awareness of the issue of fuel poverty throughout the district
  • Achievement of local carbon reduction targets
  • Improve affordable warmth through income maximisation and budgeting advice
  • Addressing wider determinants of health and excess Winter deaths

ENDS