Guest blog: Help from home improvement agencies
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 are currently available via the following funds:
npower Health Through Warmth (HTW) Crisis Fund
HTW offers help to people in England who have long-term illnesses and are finding it hard to fund heating and insulation measures in their homes.
Who qualifies for help?
People with long-term illness who own and occupy their own home, who also have a low income and little or no savings (which are assessed) and cannot fully fund the work themselves.
Grant recipients don’t have to be or become an npower customer, to receive help.
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 Boiler Repairs
Gas Boiler Replacements
Gas Boiler Combustion Analysis
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, an anonymous charity and npower Health Through Warmth Hardship Fund administered through Foundations Independent Living Trust. 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.
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.
You can also call 0300 124 0315.
If you live in other parts of the UK
Home Improvement Agencies can be accessed via the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in Northern Ireland.
There are several Home Improvement Agencies in Scotland. See the Care and Repair Scotland website for more information.
Care and Repair Cymru provides Home Improvement Agency services for people living in Wales.
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