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Guest blog: Foundations Independent Living Trust (FILT)

Many people using our Grants Search are looking for help with home repairs and replacements for vital items such as boilers.

Our friends at FILT explain what help may be available to you - if you are a homeowner, live in England and are older or have a long-term health condition - to ensure you stay warm and safe at home.

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If you are struggling to keep warm in your own home and it’s affecting your health and wellbeing, don’t suffer in silence.

Help is available via the Foundations Independent Living Trust (FILT) which delivers grants through its network of handyperson and home improvement agencies (HIA) in England.

FILT programmes fund life-changing interventions to make homes more energy efficient and/or easier to keep warm. Plus, the charity also provides grants to improve the safety of gas work and appliances in the home.

Measures range from draught proofing and fitting reflector radiator panels to replacement of boilers and central heating systems.

Grants

Grants are currently available via the following funds:

Gas Safe Charity

FILT works with Gas Safe to provide preventative services that directly address the risks of death, injuries and illness caused by dangerous gas work and appliances.

The following types of essential minor work may be carried out using the Grant Scheme funding:

  • Gas Safety Checks

  • Gas Servicing

  • Gas Boiler Repairs

  • Gas Boiler Replacements

  • Gas Boiler Combustion Analysis

  • Gas Cookers

  • Fires

  • Gas Pipework

  • Gas Meters

  • Water Heaters.

Who qualifies for help?
  • Home owners who are 60 years of age or over and who receive means tested benefit

  • Home owners who are 60 years of age or over and who receive state pension only (with no other income)

  • Home owners who are 60 years of age or over who are disabled

  • Home owners who are 18 years of age or over who are disabled

Please note that the maximum grant paid from this fund is £500 per home.

People helped by Home Improvement Agencies

Mr W is 80 years of age and lived alone. He had recently undergone surgery to have a pacemaker fitted and his mobility was poor.

The HIA was contacted as his 40-year-old boiler had broken down and Mr W only had one small electric fire to keep him warm.

“We contacted the local borough council to assist with heating repairs. The council advised they could contribute towards a replacement boiler and it was arranged that we would try to raise as much funds as possible and the council would make up the shortfall. 

“We were able to utilise funding from the Gas Safe Charity scheme, Home Warmth for the Aged Benevolent Fund, and other charities. In total, an amount of £1,800 was raised and the Borough Council made up the shortfall of £1,600.”

The new boiler was fitted quickly and Mr W was able to convalesce in the warmth of his home.

You can read other people's stories of getting help from Home Improvement Agencies on the FILT website

How to get help

If you’re at risk of fuel poverty or are concerned about gas safety in your home, please contact your local home improvement agency (HIA) who can apply for the funding on your behalf.

Find your local home improvement agency

You can also call 0300 124 0315.

If you live in other parts of the UK

Northern Ireland

Home Improvement Agencies can be accessed via the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in Northern Ireland.

Scotland

There are several Home Improvement Agencies in Scotland. See the Care and Repair Scotland website for more information.

Wales

Care and Repair Cymru provides Home Improvement Agency services for people living in Wales.

Turn2us resources

If you are struggling financially, check your benefits entitlement with the Turn2us Benefit Calculator. You can also use the Turn2us Grants Search to look for charitable funds that might be able to help you based on your background, personal circumstances and needs - including energy company grant-giving funds and social tariff schemes.

You may also find it helpful to read our Grants for Energy Efficiency information.

Updated: February 2020

Coronavirus Information

My child's school is closing due to the coronavirus outbreak. What can I do?

The government has announced that schools will be closing for the majority of students from 20 March 2020.

Children in the following groups will still be able to go to school if their parents choose to send them:

  • The children of key workers
  • Children receiving support from social services
  • Children with disabilities
  • Children with EHCPs​
  • Young carers

If you need to take time off work to care for your children, you should check your employment rights on the ACAS website.
 

What if I am well but my employer tells me not to work because of the coronavirus outbreak?

This will depend on your contract and is an employment law issue. You may be able to get advice from ACAS on this: https://www.acas.org.uk/. You will not be entitled to SSP.

What if I have been in contact with someone with coronavirus and don’t want to go to work and risk infecting my colleagues and customers?

You will only be able to get special help under the coronavirus rules if you are self-isolating in accordance with NHS advice. You can find the current NHS advice here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

What if I am not getting any customers in my self-employed business because of the coronavirus?

You may be able to claim Universal Credit, but you will not be entitled to any special support because of the coronavirus outbreak. You may have the minimum income floor applied to your claim, or you may be required to look for full time employment.

I’m on a zero-hours contract, will I get paid if I’m told to self isolate?

If you are self-isolating in accordance with NHS guidance and you usually earn at least £118 per week you should get Statutory Sick Pay even if you are on a zero hours contract.

What if I am homeless with no income so can’t self-isolate and need funds for accommodation?

The government has not published any guidance for what you should do if you are homeless and develop coronavirus symptoms. It would be best to contact your local authority for advice. You should do so by telephone if at all possible.