The West Midlands has been awarded more than £1million of funding to help people across the region keep warm and well this winter as energy bills continue to rise.
The grant has been awarded to Act on Energy, who are working with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to provide expert advice to people struggling to heat their homes.
Funds will be used to offer free energy advice over the phone, as well as face-to-face support at events, drop-in clinics, and house visits for the most vulnerable.
The programme, ‘Warmer Homes West Midlands’, will build on two years of success for the help line, which has already supported more than 10,000 vulnerable households across the region, improving the health and wellbeing of people living in cold and damp homes.
The new funding will enable the service to ramp up its operations for households across the West Midlands which already has some of the highest rates of fuel poverty in the country.
Andy Street, (pictured), mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said:
“The additional £1million in funding secured for the Warmer Homes West Midlands programme will mainly be put towards training frontline staff and expanding how many calls they can take. It’s also encouraging to hear that home visits and direct community outreach are also being considered.
If you’re feeling under strain and want to seek advice, don’t be afraid to get in touch via the freephone number 0808 196 8298 or by visiting the Warmer Homes WM website.”
Community outreach staff can also offer help with budgeting, access to grant funding and fuel supply and the installation of free energy saving measures such as draughtproofing, heat reflective radiator foils and energy efficient lightbulbs.
Rachel Jones, Act on Energy’s CEO, said:
“This funding has come not a moment too soon. We are in the grip of an energy crisis that will cause more people to fall into fuel poverty.
This programme will enable vulnerable households to live in warmer and more affordable homes. Our outreach workers will work directly across local communities to address the impacts of fuel poverty which can affect every aspect of people’s lives.”
Cllr Ian Courts, WMCA portfolio lead for energy and environment and leader of Solihull Council, said:
“I welcome the latest funding which has been secured to continue delivering this vital programme.
In addition to the work already being undertaken by councils in the region, the Warmer Homes programme is offering free and trusted advice to help those who may be worried about their increasing fuel bills this winter. That supports much needed at this difficult time.”