A scheme that helps vulnerable Reading residents keep warm through the winter is about to get under way again as the weather starts to get colder.
Reading Borough Council’s Winter Watch scheme runs until the end of March 2015.
Since it was launched three years ago, Winter Watch has provided support and information to more than 2,000 vulnerable households.
Winter Watch targets at-risk groups including pensioners, people with serious illnesses and disabilities, people on a range of benefits and families with young children.
Last winter 148 residents were helped with advice, assistance and tips on how to reduce their energy bills, while 78 residents received emergency financial assistance.
A further 10 residents were supported by the Council to gain access to boiler upgrades or insulation measures through the Government’s ECO funding scheme.
Winter Watch support includes:
- Home energy checks
- Access to grants for insulation
- Provision of heaters and bedding
- Emergency payments
Council officers also ran eight events to publicise the Winter Watch scheme.
An estimated 7,200 households in Reading – almost 12 per cent – are considered ‘fuel poor’ and will struggle to afford the cost of heating their homes.
Cllr Richard Davies, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Housing, said: “Rising fuel costs are a concern for all of us and even more so for the most vulnerable people in our community, some of whom are faced with choosing whether to heat their homes or to pay other bills.
“I am delighted that this year’s Winter Watch scheme has continued to reach out to members of our community who most particularly need our help.”
Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Health, said: “Over the past 10 years, it is estimated that there has been an average of 26,700 excess winter deaths in England and Wales.
“I fully support anything we can do to guard against the potentially disastrous effects of inadequate heating on people’s health.”
For details, call Winter Watch on 0118 937 3747 or visit www.reading.gov.uk and search for Winter Watch.