Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, has visited a local pensioner to see first-hand the difference made by npower’s Health Through Warmth scheme.
Seventy-eight-year-old Don Grant and his wife Anne were left without heating when their boiler broke down recently. Don has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and Anne, his wife, has limited mobility due to a recent operation on her spine. When their 20+ year-old boiler started to leak they were left without heating and found the cold made their health conditions much worse.
Unsure where to turn to for help, Don spoke to a local Warm Zone benefit advisor, who referred the couple to npower Heath Through Warmth in Newcastle. The scheme aims to help residents whose health is made worse by cold and damp living conditions, and they don’t have adequate heating and insulation in their homes.
Realising the urgency of the couple’s circumstances, the local Health Through Warmth co-ordinator immediately arranged for a new boiler installation. Don had served in the armed forces, so SSAFA Forces Help was able to contribute towards the cost of the work and the remaining balance was paid by the unique npower Health through Warmth Crisis Fund.
Chi Onwurah MP was joined by Elaine Midwinter, npower Health Through Warmth scheme manager; Julie Jaglowski, customer services director, for npower; Jill Delf, operations manager at Newcastle Warm Zone cic and Bronwen Banner, benefits advisor at Newcastle Warm Zone cic.
Chi Onwurah MP commented: “npower Health through Warmth is a fantastic scheme that demonstrates how successful partnership working can be in helping local residents here in Newcastle. Since the scheme launched it has done an invaluable job supporting vulnerable members of our community and I’d urge anyone who has a cold or damp related illness to get in touch with the local Health Through Warmth co-ordinator to see if they are eligible for help.”
Don explained: “We couldn’t be more thankful for how npower Health through Warmth has helped us. The work was done very quickly and efficiently, meaning we were soon warm and comfortable in our home once again.”
Newcastle is one of 15 areas across England and Wales in which npower’s Health through Warmth scheme operates. Managed locally by Newcastle Warm Zone cic in partnership with Newcastle City Council and Newcastle and North Tyneside Community Health, more than 18,400 residents have been referred to the scheme since it began in 2003. The scheme also launched in North Tyneside in October 2010, and has received over 3,700 referrals to date.
Each npower Health through Warmth referral is assessed on an individual basis and funding can be accessed from a variety of sources, including the unique npower Health through Warmth Crisis Fund, government grants and charitable funds.
Elaine Midwinter, npower Health through Warmth scheme manager, added: “Like Mr and Mrs Grant, there are many residents in Newcastle whose health is made worse by cold and damp living conditions.
“npower’s Health Through Warmth scheme operates all year round, so even though the summer months are here, we would encourage people to get in touch to find out if they could be eligible to receive help from the scheme.”