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An NHS Bolton project that assists residents with a long-term illness was provided with £89,638 of funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust.

More than 6000 individuals have received fuel poverty advice enabling them to heat their homes more effectively since the initiative began in 2009. The “Working in the Health Sector project” run by the NHS used their funding to help raise awareness, identify and support vulnerable people who are more susceptible to the effects of fuel poverty.

The project reached the general public through events and home visits and worked with frontline primary care workers to help train them to recognise when people are in fuel poverty. A NHS Bolton project officer attended over 36 events enabling its Keep Warm Keep Well message to reach a wide audience. Residents received energy efficiency information at neighbourhood renewal events, health events and children’s centres. In addition, home visits took place at 191 households offering residents tailored energy efficiency advice to help cut costs and reduce fuel waste. These visits helped to reach those unable to attend drop in sessions because of limiting long term illnesses.

Frontline care workers received training to help them recognise the signs of fuel poverty and were provided with the information needed to refer patients coping with high energy bills to relevant organisations. Information was also distributed through 53 local GP surgeries to deliver Keep Warm Keep Well advice and to raise awareness and offer solutions to the issues of fuel poverty.

Ann Loughrey, ScottishPower’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and The ScottishPower Energy People Trust Company Secretary, said: “We are very pleased that funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust has helped residents with long term health problems in the Bolton area.
“Many households and individuals helped were in fuel poverty when more than 10% of their income was being spent on energy usage. Projects such as “Working in the Health Sector” help to provide information about energy efficiency and are extremely beneficial in ensuring that the correct information reaches those who are most susceptible to fuel poverty.”

Leesa Hellings, Health Improvement Specialist at NHS Bolton, said: “ScottishPower Energy People Trust funding has enabled many ill residents in the Bolton area struggling with energy usage to receive valuable information that has reduced their fuel bills. “Our partnerships with local GP surgeries and frontline care workers have helped us to reach a wide audience and share the Keep Warm Keep Well message with many local residents. Educating our working partners and residents about the negative effects of fuel poverty on health and the methods of identifying fuel poverty has helped to create warmer and healthier homes.”

Established in November 2005, the ScottishPower Energy People Trust provides vital funding for charities that help vulnerable people including families with young children, young people and disabled households, who need to spend more than 10% of their income on fuel.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012