Older people who are socially isolated may not seek help to protect their home against the cold. This is despite concerns that may be raised by letters from energy companies or visits from health workers. However, handypeople may be in a better position to build relationships of trust with older people. The Department of Health has invested in handyperson schemes to help provide professional services for older peple for free or at low cost.
The Department of Health’s fund, called Warm Homes, Healthy People, has invested £500,000 into the Foundations Independent Living Trust (FILT) Warm Homes Service so that vulnerable people can be kept warm during the winter cold. The funding will help over 170 home improvement agencies (HIA) provide face-to-face advice to 4,000 households, and fund improvements to the homes of 1,000 older or disabled, vulnerable individuals. Small-scale warm home improvements include gas fires, boiler repairs and draught-proofing.
Chair of FILT and Former housing minister Baroness Kay Andrews said: “This is the first time the HIA sector has been directly funded to make a significant contribution to tackling fuel poverty and it’s a great opportunity for HIAs to build on the fantastic local work they already do. I’m delighted that the trusting relationship HIA case workers have with thousands of vulnerable people has been recognised as an important tool to help reduce fuel poverty, quickly and effectively.”
More information about how the Department of Health’s funds will be distributed can be found on its website. A recent piece highlighting the work of FILT can be found on the Guardian website.