Thousands of eligible people in the North East could benefit from a free gas boiler as part of a scheme aimed at tackling fuel poverty in the community.
The Community Challenge scheme, launched last year, helps local people to lower their energy bills and make their homes more energy efficient. Now, it has joined forces with Voluntary Organisations Network North East (VONNE) to help identify homes that would benefit from this support.
Through VONNE the scheme will also encourage selected charities and voluntary organisations to refer eligible households to ‘Warm Up North’ for a free British Gas boiler. Organisations that refer residents for a new boiler through the Community Challenge will receive £40 from Warm Up North per successful boiler installation, to reinvest in their community projects.
The scheme hopes to reach thousands of people in need in the North East through some of the 750 charitable and voluntary organisations that form part of VONNE – The support body for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in the North East of England.
Warm Up North is a partnership between the UK’s leading energy supplier, British Gas and nine councils across the North East, which launched the Community Challenge last year with last year with fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA).
The project is part of British Gas’ involvement in the Community Action Partnership (CAP), a joint initiative between British Gas and NEA. CAP operates in eight key locations across the UK where it aims to alleviate fuel poverty by working at a grass-roots level.
Through the Community Challenge, NEA will also provide valuable training to community workers on how to spot the signs of fuel poverty and help people improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
Christine Tate, head of corporate responsibility at British Gas said: “By getting free, energy efficient boilers and advice on how to make homes more energy efficient, we can help those most in need to access affordable warmth.
“I urge any organisation interested in getting involved in the programme to contact VONNE and help make a real difference to the energy efficiency of homes across the North East.”
The scheme is open to privately owned or privately rented households across the region that are in receipt of income related benefits such as Pension Credit, Universal Credit and Job Seekers Allowance.
Warm Up North works in partnership with Darlington Borough Council, Durham County Council, Gateshead Council, Hartlepool Borough Council, Newcastle City Council, Northumberland County Council, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, South Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of homes across the region.
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