Delivering practical projects that have a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing

Author: 14/11/2016

Here at the National Energy Foundation, we’re proud of the fact that we make a difference. Our Senior Project Officer, Alex Steeland, looks at how our practical projects make a difference by having a positive impact on people's lives and contribute to improving the use of energy in buildings.

Ahead of her presentation on our Better Housing, Better Health project at the 'Public Health: Prevention in Practice' conference later this month, Alex outlines the practical work the Foundation does and the projects it operates that help improve people’s health and wellbeing.

Better Housing, Better Health

The aim of Better Housing, Better Health is to help those whose health is affected by living in cold or damp homes. Working in partnership with eleven local authorities across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire and with funding from the British Gas Energy Trust, the project provides advice, home energy checks and grants for practical energy efficiency improvements for those living with a cardiovascular disease or respiratory illness.

Better Housing, Better Health aims to:

  • Help prevent avoidable excess winter deaths.
  • Reduce fuel poverty.
  • Reduce pressure on health services.
  • Improve health and wellbeing.

The scheme covers:

  • Grants of up to £2,500 for energy efficiency measures.
  • Free surveys to identify potential risks to health.
  • Support with benefits checks, fuel debt mediation and switching energy tariff or supplier.
  • Free training to frontline health and social care staff, emphasising the link between cold homes and ill health, showing staff how to identify at-risk patients and explaining how to make referrals to the scheme.

Keeping Kids Cosy

Keeping Kids Cosy is a project aimed at families with young children living in areas of deprivation who are struggling to keep their houses warm and their energy bills down.

It works across the whole of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, is funded by Scottish Power Energy People’s Trust and is supported by the local authorities in the two counties.

Keeping Kids Cosy has already:

  • Given advice and assistance on fuel bills and saving energy to over 250 parents at outreach events.
  • Delivered training on fuel poverty and its impacts on children’s health and wellbeing to 60 frontline staff.
  • Provided 14 House-Warming Hampers (full of energy efficiency measures) to those most in need.

Affordable Warmth

The National Energy Foundation manages an Affordable Warmth helpline for anyone living in Buckinghamshire (excluding Milton Keynes) or Oxfordshire. We provide free, impartial and expert advice on: switching energy supplier; reducing energy bills; heating a home affordably and efficiently; and grants and financial assistance.

We can also run free talks to local community groups and organisations. During 2015-16, we advised 3,000 people at 80 outreach events and training sessions, with a further 1,650 via the helpline.

Green Deal Communities

Our Green Deal Communities project was one of 24 across England to promote the Green Deal with a focus on the insulation of hard-to-treat properties. We were appointed as Project Managers by South Bucks District Council on behalf of a partnership of 14 local authorities across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire.

By the end of the project, we had achieved 577 installs, 423 of which were solid wall installations and 154 were other energy efficiency measures. Residents reported a reduction in their energy use, more rapid increase in internal temperatures, and better heat retention after the heating was turned off – all of which led to better thermal comfort for residents and improved health and wellbeing.