Warm homes scheme offers new heating systems

PEOPLE who struggle to afford to keep their homes warm could get central heating installed for free under an affordable warmth scheme running in the county.

East Sussex County Council has been awarded funding from National Grid’s Warm Homes Fund aimed at helping people who find themselves in fuel poverty.

The funding is enabling the installation of at least 100 new gas central heating systems free of charge to vulnerable residents such as older people or families on low incomes.

Applications will be considered from homeowners or private tenants living in towns or built-up areas of East Sussex who don’t currently have mains gas central heating and are on a low income.

Darrell Gale, East Sussex Director of Public Health, said: “Unfortunately, we know there are people in East Sussex who struggle to afford to keep their homes warm.

“People may not realise that annual fuel bills for homes with electric heating are on average £200 more expensive than those with gas central heating, with some homes potentially even paying twice as much.

“Summer is a great time to think about home improvements and get prepared for when the cold weather starts to bite. This scheme will enable us to make a real difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the county, helping them to keep warm and well in their homes.”

People who think they may qualify are asked to apply for a free Warm Home Check, which will assess whether they’re eligible for central heating installation or other support.

The scheme also provides advice on keeping homes warm, reducing energy costs and financial support available for heating, as well as minor improvements such as improved insulation.

People can apply for a Warm Home Check online at www.warmeastsussex.org.uk –  by texting WARM to 81400, through their local Citizens Advice office or by calling the charity’s Adviceline on 03444 111444.

The funding for East Sussex comes from the £1.5 million Warm Homes Fund established by National Grid and administered by community interest company Affordable Warmth Solutions, on behalf of National Grid.