Redcar_and_Cleveland_Borough_CouncilRESIDENTS battling the winter freeze without a central heating system could be eligible to get a free upgrade thanks to a regional fund.

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, along with nine other North-East Councils who form the Warm Up North partnership, has been awarded funding to install the free central heating systems.  The council is encouraging all residents, especially those in rural areas, to see if they qualify for this free installation.

To qualify, applicants must be a private homeowner or have a private landlord in Redcar and Cleveland.  They must also meet the following three criteria to be considered for a free system:

1) The household must have a total income of less than £26,000 per year including any benefits. However, applicants may still qualify if they receive certain income-related benefits.

2) The property must not have, and have never had, a central heating system. If a home has electric heaters or a partial, solid fuel-fired central heating system only connected in one or two rooms, it may still be eligible.

3) Installation of a new central heating system must improve the energy rating of the property – this would be determined by a Warm Up North surveyor when the house is assessed after applying.

If the survey reveals a gas central heating system is not suitable for the property, an oil boiler or an air source heat pump will be installed into qualifying properties.

Councillor Lynn Pallister, cabinet member for health and housing, said: “We’re delighted that the scheme has already gained interest from a number of residents in Redcar and Cleveland.

“The Warm Up North scheme will make a huge difference to the quality of life of the people it helps and we really want that benefit to be felt across the borough.

“Fuel poverty is a serious problem in Redcar and Cleveland, particularly in rural areas, so we’re urging people who think that they may be eligible to contact the Warm Up North team for advice.”

Residents who think they may qualify for the scheme can find more information by visitingwww.warmupnorth.com/chf or by calling Warm Up North free on 0800 294 8073.