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30 April 2024
Green Economy

Care & Repair Cymru Launches New ‘Older not Colder’ Service with £1.3m Funding

Care & Repair Cymru has launched a Wales-wide service aimed at reducing the impact and severity of fuel poverty on older people.

The Welsh charity’s Older Not Colder service will see a team of home energy officers working to support people over 60 who own their home or privately rent, to keep their homes warm and energy efficient.

With older people widely recognised as more likely to be in fuel poverty, the two-year project is expected to deliver help and support to 8,500 vulnerable households, whilst providing them with more than £5 million in financial gains.

The service is funded by Wales & West Utilities’ Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA) fund.

The home energy officers will visit homes to provide a comprehensive and tailored package of energy efficiency measures and home improvements. They will also offer advice and signposting information, whilst helping individuals with income maximisation.

Care & Repair will integrate Older Not Colder with its other services and initiatives, whilst also working in partnership with statutory bodies, Welsh Government and third sector organisations, to identify those most in need.

Chris Jones, Chief Executive at Care & Repair Cymru, said:

“We know first-hand just how much the cost-of-living crisis is having an effect on the most vulnerable in our society. With the Welsh Government estimating that that the number of people in fuel poverty and severe fuel poverty has doubled over the past 12 -15 months, our support is needed more than ever.

“We are delighted that this funding has been awarded and we can step up our work with low-income older homeowners and private tenants to provide them with vital support.”

The service will provide people with support to maximise income through benefit entitlement checks, access energy efficiency grants, and provide energy advice and signposting to help manage fuel debt. Officers will also provide carbon monoxide awareness information whilst raising awareness of the Priority Services Register and how people can access and sign up to the free support service.

Wayne Hughes, a home energy officer delivering the Older not Colder project, said:

“Visiting homes and seeing housing conditions with my own eyes is vital to being able to find solutions to the problems that exist. I often come across damp and mould, poorly insulated homes and inefficient heating systems – all of which we can help with in some way.”

Sophie Shorney, VCMA Manager at Wales & West Utilities, said:

“We’ve seen the impact of Care & Repair Cymru’s previous fuel poverty service, 70+ Cymru, and are pleased that this funding will allow them to increase their work to make a positive impact to older people who are in fuel poverty.

“This service will allow officers to reach more vulnerable people and provide them with the help they need to ensure they receive the right support and help with their bills, to help keep them safe and warm in their own homes.”

Between April 2021 to March 2026, Wales & West Utilities has £25 million to spend on projects which support consumers in vulnerable situations and raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and keep people safe from the ‘silent killer’.

Funding is distributed through the VCMA, and 75% of the money will be spent on projects relevant to Wales and south west England only, while 25% will be spent

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