Fuel poverty affects over 24,000 homes across North Yorkshire, but there is help available for families to save money and look after themselves this winter.
Excess winter deaths increased between 2017 and 2018, a third of which were caused by respiratory conditions worsened by cold weather. As well as being a threat to life, being too cold at home severely impacts physical and mental health. Arthritis, asthma, stress and anxiety can all be made worse by the unavailability of affordable warmth.
For those struggling with finances paying for energy supplies can be a challenge, but Warm and Well in North Yorkshire is a project helping to tackle this issue through home visits and a range of other services.
Mary*is 82 and lives alone in Selby. Her home is heated by storage heaters, and she’d received a letter from her energy supplier to say her bills were going to increase again. She felt her bills had just got too expensive and contacted Warm and Well in North Yorkshire for support. They did a price comparison and saved her £818 per year.
Mary said, “I am so pleased I changed and am still within my limits with the tariff. I am very happy with them [Warm and Well in North Yorkshire], everyone is so polite and helpful and pleasant.”
Warm and Well in North Yorkshire also signposted Mary to Citizen’s Advice to apply for Attendance Allowance and her success in getting the higher rate has “helped tremendously.”
As well as switching suppliers, Warm and Well in North Yorkshire can help families benefit from the Warm Homes Discount scheme which is a one-off grant of up to £140 for those on low incomes in the run up to winter. Of the people the project has helped so far this year, 34% who were eligible hadn’t previously claimed the discount which equated to a total of £6,720 unclaimed support from the big energy companies.
Laura Thomas, Warm and Well in North Yorkshire Project Co-ordinator said:
“The £140 payment can go a long way to easing financial pressure on families during the winter and is set up in such a way that it reaches those who need it the most. It always gives me such a boost to see the difference this discount can make to people’s lives.”
If you are struggling with keeping your home warm this winter due to money worries, please visit www.warmandwell.org.uk or call 01609 767555.
 Excess Winter Deaths stats taken from https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/excesswintermortalityinenglandandwales/2017to2018provisionaland2016to2017final