Christine NichollsA local woman from Northumberland has been recognised as a national ‘Heat Hero’, thanks to her tireless work in in the community.

Christine Nicholls from Community Action Northumberland (CAN) has won the Heat Heroes Award, which is awarded to individuals who have gone ‘above and beyond’ to help people living in fuel poverty in their local community.

The scheme is run by fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action (NEA) in partnership with ScottishPower.

Christine, who is a community development officer, is part time but works across Northumberland. She often attends training and events in her own time, which has even included Christmas Day in the past. Her determination, hard work and vision have helped her reach over 6100 people. She came up with the idea for the very successful Warm Hubs project – which is now being considered for national rollout.

Christine’s future plans are to work with young people to educate and involve them in the fight against fuel poverty. She hopes to establish energy forums across the county run by young people to give them an opportunity to have their say in the community and to take action and make a difference. She helped support the Central Heating Fund and other schemes and has done much more – all with a smile on her face.

Adrian Hinchcliffe, Chair from Community Action Northumberland said: “This is fantastic news for Christine and for CAN. This award is richly deserved and reflects Christine’s tremendous efforts to help people in need in rural Northumberland. CAN exists to support Northumberland’s rural communities and our work in relation to fuel poverty and energy efficiency is a core priority. Our success in this area has been directly as a result of Christine’s undiluted passion and complete commitment to help. Congratulations Christine and many, many thanks!”

Jenny Saunders, Chief Executive NEA commented: “Christine has gone above and beyond to help vulnerable people to heat their homes across Northumberland. We had a record number of entries this year but Christine was one of those who really stood out. We’re proud to be presenting her with the Heat Heroes award at a ceremony at the House of Commons in September.”

Gillian Noble, Sales Director, ScottishPower Retail and Generation added: “We are proud to be sponsoring the Heat Heroes Awards for a fifth year. The hard work and commitment shown by these dedicated people within their communities is crucially important in helping to tackle fuel poverty. On behalf of ScottishPower I’d like to congratulate all the nominees and winners.”