City of Wolverhampton Council’s Affordable Warmth Grant Assistance programme has been hailed as an example of best practice by an All Party Parliamentary Group.
The scheme is aimed at vulnerable private sector residents in need of help with heating measures.
City of Wolverhampton has always been at the forefront of local authorities in delivering the scheme, which it has been running for 20 years.
It is one of the few councils that utilises its own funding to ensure those residents whose health is at risk due to living in cold/damp conditions can keep their homes warm.
Staff gave evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group, Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency Group (FPEEG) – and are now featured as a best practice case study in a published prospectus titled ‘A Prospectus for Universal Affordable Warmth.’
The FPEEG is a cross-party coalition of MPs and Peers dedicated to the alleviation of fuel poverty. First established in 1995 as the Parliamentary Warm Homes Group, its mission is to raise awareness of the problem of fuel poverty and promote the policies that are needed to eradicate it.
Councillor Peter Bilson, City of Wolverhampton Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Housing and Assets, said: “As a local authority we do a lot to target fuel poverty in Wolverhampton.
“I am delighted the efforts of the Affordable Warmth Grant Assistance team have been recognised on this national scale. Our scheme is tailored to meet the demands of the city population. The grant plays a vital role in helping residents whose health is adversely affected by living in a cold or damp property, and ensures that qualifying residents receive high-standard heating systems that are economic to run.”
To qualify for an Affordable Warmth Assistance grant the resident must meet five criteria:
- be an owner occupier living in the City of Wolverhampton
- be in receipt of at least one income-related benefit or a benefit related to disability
- be judged to be at risk of serious ill health due to living in a cold/damp home
- the property must be in council tax band A, B or C – properties in a higher band will only receive assistance in exceptional circumstances
- have resided at the property for a minimum of 12 months
Up to 200 grants a year are available. The maximum grant is £5,000, while the average grant allocated is £2,700. The grants do not cover fuel bills.
The service also hand-holds vulnerable people through the process of the works needed.
Possible works include fitting full central heating systems, replacing boilers, replacing/adding radiators to a system, providing heating controls, where appropriate, and offering advice on paying fuel bills and energy efficiency.
An affordable warmth grant referral form is now available to submit online at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/energy. Only a name, address and contact details are required to take the grant forward. There is also an additional box if people wish to leave further information.