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Teesside Scheme Supports Fuel Poverty Awareness Day


Mar 3, 2015 #North East

Geoff Steele, Senior Surveyor at GoWarm with Andrew PattisonA TEESSIDE pensioner is marking a national day raising awareness on fuel poverty by celebrating the new lease of life he’s been given, thanks to a not-for-profit organisation.

February 27 is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, used to highlight across the country the difficulties facing people struggling to heat their homes.

But it’s a different story in Stockton, where the work of not-for-profit energy company Community Energy Solutions has helped hundreds of people out of fuel poverty and into warmer, safer and healthier homes.

Among those who have benefited from the work carried out by CES under its GoWarm scheme is 69-year-old Andrew Pattison, from Hampton Road.

The retired ambulance driver, who has a heart condition and suffers from COPD, received a new heating system and boiler free of charge, which meant he could replace his leaking gas fire which was his only form of heating.

Mr Pattison lived in a hard-to-treat home which suffered from cold and damp with no insulation. He heated his bedroom with an inadequate oil filled heater which gave him very little warmth and used expensive electric radiators to try and create some additional heat.

Along with his new heating system, GoWarm provided external wall insulation to help him retain the heat being generated, which should hopefully save him around £700 a year on his fuel bills.

The boiler at Mr Pattison’s home has been in place for more than 30 years and staff from GoWarm were alerted to his lack of heating when they visited to check out a damp patch in his kitchen.

“They said they’d go and find out if I was eligible for a new system and they came back within two hours and told me I was,” he said.

“And then it got sorted out within a few days. I couldn’t believe it. I was told the boiler should have been condemned years ago and I’d been quoted £6000 for a new heating system which I couldn’t afford.

“I can’t thank GoWarm enough, I am so grateful for what they’ve done. For the first time in years I didn’t mind the winter.

“In the past when it’s cold I’ve had to go into town and dip in and out of the shops to keep warm. This year I’ve been able to stay at home.

He added: “I’m actually looking forward to seeing my fuel bills this quarter because I know I will have saved money.

“I only now need to put the heating on for an hour and the insulation keeps the heat in so it’s warm all the time.”

More than 18 per cent of homes in Stockton are in fuel poverty, with the North East recognised as having the third highest amount of people in fuel poverty in the country, according to Government statistics.

Installing more energy efficient measures is seen as the primary way of helping people out of fuel poverty, not only improving their lifestyle but also helping them save money as a result.

GoWarm, which is run by The CES Group, has been working in Stockton for seven years, initially working to deliver cavity and wall insurance and new boilers.

Since 2012, under the Community Energy Saving Programme, this was extended to include external wall insulation and heating systems to more than 1800 households across the borough, with the scheme currently operating on properties in the Parkfield, Oxbridge, Newtown, Mandale and Victoria wards.

“We are delighted we’ve been able to help Mr Pattison,” said Karen Hindhaugh, Operations Director at GoWarm.

“And while national Fuel Poverty Awareness Day is highlighting the terrible plight that many people across the country are in. we are delighted that we are able to show some really positive, life changing results.

“Fuel Poverty Awareness Day highlights that there are many people like Mr Pattison whose only way of getting out of the situation they are in is through organisations like ours.”

Many schemes across the country are no longer in existence because of cuts to Government funding but thanks to an innovative

Innovative £5.4m funding package provided by Stockton Borough Council and leading integrated power and gas company E.ON, work is still currently underway in the town.

Fuel Poverty Awareness Day is organised by fuel poverty charity National Energy Action. For more information visit www.nea.org.uk

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