Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Fuel poverty on the rise in the capital, new report warns

13 MARCH 2012
Fuel poverty affects almost a fifth[1] of London households and contributed to 2,500 excess winter deaths last year[2] - and the problem is getting worse, a London Assembly report warns today. 
‘In from the cold’ by the Assembly’s Health and Public Services Committee says despite efforts by the government, the Mayor and a range of targeted initiatives and incentives, the number of households affected by fuel poverty increased by more than 19 per cent in just one year[3].  
The report warns that unless concerted and effective action is taken to tackle the issue, long term energy price rises will continue to push more people into fuel poverty.  The Greater London Authority’s own projections[4] show a worst case scenario where almost a quarter of households will be in fuel poverty by next year.
People in fuel poverty spend a disproportionate amount[5] of their income on energy for heating, lighting, and cooking in their homes.  Cold homes contribute to serious health problems like pneumonia and heart attacks and cost the NHS an estimated £859 million per year. 

Helping households to cut their energy bills

Rising energy prices are affecting many households. The government can’t control unpredictable global energy prices but we can help households keep their energy bills as low as possible, support those most in need and take action to help secure energy supplies in the long term.

London: Residents in fuel poverty to receive council help

The little book of energy: How to save energy and reduce your bills

The little book of energy:  How to save energy and reduce your bills

Welcome to the Home Heat Helpline’s guide to saving energy and reducing your bills. This guide will tell you about the simple steps we can all take to save energy, save money and help the environment. It will also tell you about the grants available for free home insulation and other help
with reducing your bills and making your home more energy efficient.

More at:

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

300,000 face fuel poverty - Labo

300,000 face fuel poverty - Labour

Thousands of people will be plunged into fuel poverty as the Government ends a state-funded energy efficiency programme, Labour has warned

Thousands of people will be plunged into fuel poverty as the Government ends a state-funded energy efficiency programme, Labour has warned.
Shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint said 300,000 households would be forced into fuel poverty this winter.
Ms Flint said Government decisions will force people to choose between "eating and heating" as they cannot afford to do both.
Households are considered to be in fuel poverty if they need to spend more than 10% of income on energy bills.
But Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said the measure meant even the Queen was in danger of being considered "fuel poor" and the threshold needed to be changed.
Opening a debate called by Labour, Ms Flint said the decision to end the Government-funded Warm Front programme later this week would hit low income households.
The alternative Energy Company Obligation (Eco) scheme will lift 250,000 out of fuel poverty over the next 10 years, Ms Flint said, 50,000 fewer than are expected to be hit by the cost of bills this winter.
"The level of support this Government is providing for vulnerable, low income and fuel poor households is half what it was last year and a fraction of what it was the year before that," she said.
"Over the next 10 years the Government only expects Eco to lift 250,000 households out of fuel poverty. That's 50,000 fewer than will fall into fuel poverty this winter alone."
She said it was a "shame" that when Warm Front closes on Saturday it will be "the first time since the 1970s that a British Government has not provided for an energy efficiency programme".

Fuel poverty: a call to action for London's churches

Fuel poverty: a call to action for London's churches

As part of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, Christian Ecology Link has joined the 'Energy We Can All Afford' campaign, which aims to enshrine residential domestic energy efficiency into the UK Government’s Energy Bill – for warmer homes, lower bills, a cooler planet – and growth for the green economy.
Today, 23 January 2013, marks the launch of the SHINE seasonal health referrals scheme in the London Boroughs of Islington and Hackney, and London’s Churches have been called to action.
The Seasonal Health Intervention Network (SHINE) aims to deliver a package of 20 services for vulnerable households suffering from the poor winter weather, including help to improve home warmth, arrange health checks, and organising benefits checks to make sure all those who need them receive winter fuel payments. It provides a single point of referral to assist service providers in providing a comprehensive service to clients and patients.
Churches that generate referrals to this programme receive a small payment, which will help them fund their own initiatives to help those on the edge of society. Through schemes like SHINE local churches can help increase affordable home comfort, and reduce fuel poverty and deaths due to cold.
Christian Ecology Link supports this scheme, and those in neighbouring London Boroughs, such as HEET, providing home draughtproofing and insulation in Waltham Forest.
Green Christians all over the country are urged to contact their Local Authority to find out about local energy efficiency provision, and to research what new Green Deal and ECO measures may be available to assist the financing of home energy renovations.
SHINE say: "Since December 2010 SHINE has helped over 3,000 vulnerable households but we need the help of smaller voluntary and faith sector organisations to reach many more. With assistance from National Energy Action we are launching a trial referral incentives programme and we’d like you to take part. Each valid referral received will result in a payment to your organisation of £2.50. Please sign up."
James chapter 2 verses 14 to 17 (NIV) says: "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

The Energy We Can All Afford campaign:
Stop Climate Chaos has a new 2013 website here:
Christian Ecology Link:

Local energy schemes fighting fuel poverty

New collective switching projects could help millions of people move to cheaper home fuel deals this year.

The battle to fight fuel poverty got a timely boost this week as 132 local energy projects were handed a share of £46m from the Government.
Yesterday millions of customers of E.ON became the latest to be hit by a winter price hike, with average bills climbing 8.7 per cent.
Almost nine in ten households are expected to ration energy use this winter because of cost, according to research from uSwitch, while last winter three quarters of households went without heating at some point to keep their energy costs down.
Some £31m of the government cash will be used to help reduce fuel poverty by installing efficient central heating systems and insulation in the homes of vulnerable people,

Our Vision and Services

Our vision is of a society where no one should experience discrimination on the grounds of their mental health.

Mental health problems are extremely common across society, with one in four of us experiencing them in any year. Despite being so common, people from all communities will still experience discriminatory attitudes and behaviours that can prevent people from speaking out, seeking support and playing full and active roles in our communities. The impact of mental health stigma and discrimination will vary between communities as mental health has a cultural context that affects the way communities talk about the subject and engage with people who have mental health problems. In some cultures depression, for example, doesn't exist and in others an experience of a mental health problem can be attached to a sense of shame.

For the African and Caribbean communities a key issue is the overrepresentation of young African and Caribbean men in mental health services. Misconceptions and stereotypes have led to a perception that this group is more likely to pose a risk of violent behaviour and, as a result, they are more likely to be treated as inpatients and sectioned when compared to other groups. It is well documented that this has led to a fear of talking about mental health issues more openly and a fear of using mental health services. Research by the Race Equality Foundation (2011) also highlighted fears that discrimination against Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) communities and migrant service users will increase in the austerity climate and whilst commissioning arrangements change.

Our Services

· Provide information, advice, advocacy

· Represent diversity communities in Health Care services, policies and strategies

· Organise training in health and social care in collaboration with local colleges

· Provide human resources ( including interpreters) who are suitable to the diversity communities especially to break language and cultural barriers

· Provides domiciliary care and support

· Provide services such specialised support for people with mental health needs, including people who suffer from short-term memory problems, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

· Provide visits to elderly people and help them with outings and home services

· Participate in local authority and NHS consultations , research events and programmes to voice the needs of diversity communities.

· Increase access to services and rights for disadvantaged people and the most vulnerable of our society

· Help and support unemployed people to look for work, including training and job preparation

· Provide legal advice in a range of issues from on Immigration and Asylum , welfare benefits, housing, health, education, community care, and training, employment, etc.

· Provide advice and guidance, information and practical help so that our service users can access opportunities they are entitled to

· Organise training and other community learning opportunities that provide new skills, increase confidence and motivation

· Support our service users to overcome barriers to learning, employment and training

· Provide support for young people with their education, training, confidence building, employment and social needs.

Objectives of our Diversity Living Programme:

· To promote the inclusion and participation of diversity communities* in integrated care.

· To inform policy, locally and nationally, and assisting in the formulation of effective policies, strategies and good practices in integrated care in order to contribute to improved health outcomes for the people from the diversity communities (e.g. Black and minority ethnic communities) and to ensure health services are able to meet their specific needs.

· To improve the quality of life for diversity people with disability, mental health problems and their families and carers through integrated care by providing inclusive advocacy and information.

· To provide service that enable diversity groups and individuals with disability /elderly and their carers to make the right choice for themselves and have an influence on decisions made about their future.

· To promote the rights of diversity people with disability, their families and carers and make sure their rights are safe and protected.

· To promoting access to information regarding healthcare issues and to raise awareness of the needs of diversity disabled children, young people, older people and their families.

· To promote the rights of older and disabled diversity people, helping them overcome and enable them to participate in decisions about their future

· To provide support and information to those suffering the isolation and loneliness that can be associated with disability and old age

· To fight against mental health stigma in refugee, black and minority ethnic communities and ensure no one should experience discrimination on the grounds of their mental health or disability.

*Diversity communities are older people, disabled people, Black, Asian, refugees, migrants, asylum seekers and other ethnic minorities.