Warm Homes Campaign highlights fuel poverty issues
From Helen Roach, Development Officer, National Energy Action Cymru (NEA)
We at National Energy Action (NEA) Cymru are currently running our annual Warm Homes Campaign to raise awareness of fuel poverty, so we have found it a particularly pertinent time to read about the valuable projects highlighted through the Wales Co-operative Centre’s recent Tackling Poverty Fortnight.
Our vision is of a Wales where ‘no one is living in fuel poverty’ but, at the current rate of delivery and funding, this won’t happen for at least another 15 years.
A baby born today and living in cold housing is more than twice as likely to suffer from breathing problems including asthma and bronchitis and three times as likely to suffer from wheezing and respiratory illness. As she grows up in the same housing conditions her chances of suffering mental health problems are higher – one in four adolescents living in a cold home are at risk of multiple mental health problems and evidence proves that living in fuel poverty impacts on educational attainment.
Actor Dave Johns, who plays the lead in ‘I, Daniel Blake’ is backing our Warm Homes Campaign. He said:
“It is a complete scandal that people die because they can’t afford to heat their homes. ‘I, Daniel Blake’ shows the tragic circumstances and daily dilemma of ‘heating or eating’ faced by many thousands of people in Britain today. I’m backing NEA’s Warm Homes Campaign to highlight what help is available to cope with rising energy bills as winter takes hold, and demand more support from government.”
The Warm Homes Campaign is running until 17th February, national Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, when we are encouraging organisations and members of the public to show their support for this important issue through joining our thunderclap on Twitter: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/52174-help-to-end-fuel-poverty and by holding a Nation’s Biggest Housewarming event to raise funds for NEA and raise awareness of fuel poverty and sources of help: http://www.nea.org.uk/the-difference-you-can-make/housewarming/. We have also awarded funding to some locally based organisations across Wales to hold their own events as part of the campaign, many of which will take place on Fuel Poverty Awareness Day.
Also, during the Warm Homes Campaign period, we are holding our annual Wales fuel poverty conference on 16th February, which will look beyond 2018 – the target date for the eradication of fuel poverty in Wales – to policies, programmes and new approaches. The conference will bring together over 100 stakeholders to co-operatively pool our knowledge and resources to enable good practice to be replicated across Wales, influence the policies and schemes in place and hasten the time when our country becomes one where no one is living in fuel poverty http://www.nea.org.uk/nea-cymru/conference17/.
We recognise that there are many organisations out there already trying to help clients struggling with their fuel bills but in need of extra resources so, as part of our Fuel Debt and Mentoring Project with SSE SWALEC, during the campaign period we will also be launching a new advice guide, designed to help advisors working with people who may be at risk of fuel debt.
We hope that the activity taking place over the Warm Homes Campaign will further support some of the organisations and projects highlighted through the Wales Co-operative Centre’s Tackling Poverty Fortnight to help their clients in fuel poverty, and that we can work together to keep this important issue high on the public agenda.