A GROUP of Teesside organisations have joined forces to create a “one stop shop” for advice for anyone in fuel poverty or suffering ill health because of cold homes.
This Friday (Oct 30) the Home and Energy Advice Centre will officially open at Bridge Road, Stockton, with visitors able to get immediate access to a range of professionals who can offer them help and support.
The centre is a collaboration between Stockton District Advice and Information Service (SDAIS), Age UK Teesside and Macmillan Cancer Care, along with community interest company, GoWarm.
The aim is to bring together under one roof all the advice and support services who can help those at risk of fuel poverty or whose health problems are being made worse by living in a cold home.
Anyone popping in to the centre –under the former Swallow Hotel – will be able to see if they are eligible for GoWarm’s current initiative, which is allowing them to install new boilers, heating systems and insulation to vulnerable families and individuals who meet the criteria.
At the same time they will be able to talk to experts from SDAIS who can ensure they are getting the best tariff for their utilities, while representatives from Macmillan Cancer Care will be there to give advice to anyone dealing with cancer.
Age UK Teesside will also be on hand, giving out specialist advice to elderly people.
“This is a unique initiative which means that the people of Stockton will be able to benefit from the expertise of a wide range of organisations in one place,” said Ian Bartlett, General Manager Stockton and District Advice and Information Service.
“Anyone facing fuel poverty can drop in and there should always be someone who can help with their specific circumstances.”
Janine Browne, also of SDAIS, who will be managing the Home and Energy Advice Centre, said her organisation would be focussing on helping people get the best tariff from their energy supplier.
“This can be a minefield for many people, who may find the whole system of who provides the best deal extremely complicated,” she said.
“At the new centre we will be able to provide families with the advice that is best for them and steer them in the direction of the most cost effective provider.”
The centre will be officially opened on Friday at 10am by Alex Cunningham MP.