The connection between poor health and living in a cold, damp home is well known. Cold indoor temperatures can negatively affect mental health and well-being. They can also worsen other illnesses including the common cold, flu, pneumonia, arthritis, rheumatism, and chronic and/or long-term conditions, and can delay recovery from illness. In addition to the serious negative effects on physical and mental health, fuel poverty often results in people choosing between heating their homes or other essentials like paying rent or even buying food.
With the rising cost of living and energy prices increasing, many more households across Scotland will find themselves vulnerable to fuel poverty. At Home Energy Scotland we remain focused on helping householders make their homes warmer and more affordable to heat. We provide crucial support and guidance to help people gain access to funding and get the help they need to stay warm at home.
Through our specialist energy advisors, Energycarers, we provide intensive support to households with issues relating to physical or mental health, disability, family circumstances, low income and expensive heating. Through face-to-face advice in homes we can support the most vulnerable.
Warmer Homes Scotland
For those struggling to stay warm and keep on top of energy bills, the Scottish Government’s national fuel poverty programme, Warmer Homes Scotland, offers energy saving improvements up to the value of £5,000. Over 29,000 households have already benefitted since the programme launched, and now, with eligibility criteria recently extended, an additional 110,000 households could benefit.
Warmer Homes Scotland is for homeowners and private sector tenants struggling to heat a home and who meet the eligibility requirements such as a residence with a low energy rating, who have lived in their home for at least twelve months, are over 75 with no working heating system or over 16 and in receipt of a passport benefit or income-related benefit. The news section of our website has an article outlining the recent Warmer Homes Scotland eligibility changes.
We know there’s more work to be done to combat both fuel poverty and climate change. By expanding our reach through our partners, we can help more people.
Working together to reduce fuel poverty
We partner with organisations who can help us to identify people who are living in cold homes and may be experiencing fuel poverty. Organisations with strong, trusted relationships with people at risk of fuel poverty will receive staff training, resource sharing and event support from our expert team.
Our online referral portal provides a fast, secure route to referring households and patients to us for advice and support. In addition, the portal allows the referral to be tracked from initial contact to the end of the customer journey and the resulting outcome, providing you with the assurance that your client has received the support they need.
By working together, signposting and referrals, we can help more vulnerable households access the support they need to have a warm home and improved health. To find out more about how we can help your organisation, including how to refer your clients quickly and securely to Home Energy Scotland to apply for Warmer Homes Scotland, drop us an email.
Supporting householders and partners
For households looking to improve the energy efficiency of their home, the cost of a new heating system is a significant barrier to making the necessary upgrades. However, tailored advice and access to funding can help remove this barrier. In addition to the financial support offered by the Scottish Government through Warmer Homes Scotland, there is the Home Energy Scotland Loan which is interest-free and includes a cashback option to support households that don’t have the money to invest up-front but are able to pay.
Home Energy Scotland is here to support households of all circumstances gain access to any funding available to them to make their home easier to keep warm and provide advice to help them make the most of the energy they use.
Please get in touch to see how we can work with you, to support the clients you serve.
Keeping consumers and partners informed
With so many people now needing urgent support it’s especially important that we get people to the right organisation as quickly as possible to access the help they need. While Home Energy Scotland can provide access to funding and personalised energy saving advice, we do not directly provide financial support like fuel vouchers or crisis funds. We can help reduce people’s wait times for support by signposting to ‘where to turn for financial support during these difficult times’.
By working together, we can help more people realise the health benefits of living in a warmer and more affordable home to heat. To find out more about how we can help your organisation, including how to refer your clients quickly and securely to Warmer Homes Scotland, please visit homeenergyscotland.org/partner.
To stay informed, why not subscribe to our quarterly newsletter for the latest updates, events, and funding information, straight to your inbox.
Mark Macleod is the Stakeholder Relationships Officer at Home Energy Scotland