A NEW Freephone number has been launched to help Middlesbrough residents who are struggling in fuel poverty or unable to heat their homes affordably.

Local charity Middlesbrough Environment City (MEC) has received support for this service from The Warm Homes Campaign, led by charity National Energy Action (NEA) – a national campaign aimed at raising awareness of the problem of fuel poverty and the solutions available for those struggling to heat their homes affordably.

MEC takes the lead role as part of the Middlesbrough Affordable Warmth Partnership, working in tandem with various support organisations across the town.

The partnership aims to ensure local residents who are in fuel poverty or otherwise struggling with their fuel bills receive the correct specialist help most suited to their needs.

The new freephone number – 0800 304 7084 – will take residents through to a ‘one stop shop’ where their needs can be assessed and they can be provided with the most appropriate help.

Help available via the Affordable Warmth Partnership ranges from free emergency heaters from Cleveland Fire Brigade to benefit checks via the Citizens Advice Bureau and fuel switching advice from MEC energy advisors.

The Affordable Warmth Officer at MEC, Amanda Martin, said: “We are already doing great work within Middlesbrough in terms of tackling fuel poverty but this new freephone number will be a great help and allow people to contact us free of charge to get the advice and support they need.”

To promote the new freephone service and provide face to face advice Middlesbrough Environment City are running a launch event on Friday, February 17 from 10am-2pm at the Dundas Arcade in Middlesbrough town centre.

Cllr Julia Rostron, Chair of MEC and Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care, said: “Come along for a chat with their team of advisors and ask any questions you might have about your energy bills or get some top tips on staying warm in your home during the cold winter months.

“Along with answering your questions and giving advice, staff can also provide people with free energy efficient LED light bulbs and advice resources like leaflets and thermometer cards to measure the temperature in your home.”

 More information about Middlesbrough Environment City can be found at www.menvcity.org.uk, or Facebook (www.facebook.com/menvcity) or by following on Twitter (@Menvcity). Information and advice is also available by calling 01642 579820.

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