Hundreds of people could be spared the misery of winter – and millions of pounds saved for the NHS if fuel poverty can be tackled.
That’s the message for Salford’s first ever Cold Homes and Ill Health summit which takes place next Monday (6 November) bringing organisations across the city together to explore new ways of preventing deaths and illnesses simply because of the cold. The summit is being supported by the NEA the warm homes charity.
Since 2005, Salford’s Affordable Warmth Network – led by Salford City Council – has helped over 2,500 people with everything from replacement boilers to saving an average of £200 per year by changing electricity suppliers and installing free, simple measures to keep their homes warmer and save energy.
But Councillor Tracy Kelly, lead member for housing and neighbourhoods, said fuel poverty is still a major issue in the city and there is still much more work to do.
“Far too many people still have to choose between heating and eating or struggle to keep their homes warm and free from damp. Hospital admissions for conditions caused by cold and damp are still higher in Salford than the national average, putting pressure on the NHS and affecting people’s quality of life,” she said.
“Research from Bolton NHS showed that for every 2,000 households lifted out of fuel poverty the saving to the NHS would be £1 million per year. That benefits everyone.
“There is help available and we know it works. We’ve seen the difference affordable warmth measures can make to someone’s home, purse, health and quality of life if we can reach the people who need it.
“This summit will celebrate that good work but also explore new ways of reaching the most vulnerable to get them the help they need. Salford has a great track record of organisations working together to support our residents and we want to build on that to make sure people are not cold, miserable and unhealthy this winter.”