Wednesday, 13 February 2013

TEN TOP TIPS to help you keep a warm and healthy home


TEN TOP TIPS
to help you keep a warm and healthy home
1. Insulate and draught-proof your home
Insulating your loft and walls where possible will reduce your energy needs and save you money.  Draughtproofing reduces unwanted ventilation. If your home has draughty windows, doors or a letterbox then seals can be easily fitted to reduce unwanted ventilation.  Avoid blocking air vents.
2.   Check your eligibility for insulation and heating improvements
Households in receipt of certain welfare benefits may be eligible for free assistance for heating and/or insulation improvements; all other households may be eligible for reduced cost measures.  Also consider having a benefit entitlement check as it may help with eligibility for services.
3. Change your behaviour
Make simple behavioural changes that will help you to save energy and save money.  Switch lights off when not in use.  Keep your curtains shut at night to keep the heat in and open in the daytime to allow radiant sunlight in.  Have a shower instead of a bath.  When cooking, choose the right size of pan and lid and use a slow cooker where possible. 
4. Seek fuel debt advice
If you are having difficulty paying your energy bills, then get advice.  Energy suppliers should agree an affordable repayment plan with you. The “ability to pay” under this plan refers to what you can afford not what the supplier suggests. 
5. Register for priority services
Energy suppliers and network operators keep a Priority Services Register for householders with special medical or communication needs. Services may include special assistance during power cuts, talking fuel bills and special controls. 
6. Control your heating
If you have heating controls and timers, make sure you can use them correctly.   This includes using the timer so the system only heats the home when it is needed.   Ask for help from friends, family or a local energy champion if you are unsure.
7. Control your hot water
If you have hot water controls then use them.  Avoid leaving electric immersion heaters on for a long time as they are expensive to use.  If your hot water cylinder doesn’t have a jacket, purchase one for around £10 and you can save up to £20 a year on your energy bills. 
8. Use appliances efficiently
Turn off appliances when not in use and avoid using the stand-by facility as this wastes energy.  Only boil what water is needed in your kettle. A microwave uses less energy than an electric oven on full power.  Defrost your freezer regularly and keep containers filled with water in it if it is not filled with food. 
9.  Condensation problems
Warm air on a cold wall can lead to condensation mould growth.  Ventilate your home as much as possible.  And remember; try not to dry washing on radiators but on a rail in a room with a closed door and open window.  Try not to use portable liquid propane gas (LPG) heaters – they produce a lot of moisture. 
10. Check your energy use and look for the best deal.
Monitor your energy consumption and cost.  Avoid estimated bills by supplying your own meter readings if necessary.   
Make sure you are getting the best deal on your gas and electricity costs.   To help you do this, use a switching site displaying the Consumer Focus Confidence code.   For solid fuel, bulk/bottled gas or oil, get a number of quotes and ask around for bulk buying cooperatives.  These could help you secure a better price.   Also be aware of the regulations protecting you.

ADVICE AND SERVICE PROVIDERS

·    Home Heat Helpline – provides advice on benefits, information on schemes available for home heating and insulation and special payment options energy companies provide to help those struggling with their fuel bills.
Tel: 0800 336 699                                                 Web: www.homeheathelpline.org.uk

Register for Priority Services
If you are in receipt of certain benefits, are over 60, are chronically sick, disabled, or have hearing or visual impairments you can benefit from a range of free services from your energy supplier under their Priority Services Register, including free gas safety checks, regular meter readings, having your meter moved somewhere it is easier to access, and priority reconnection if your supply is interrupted. Each supplier has its own Priority Services Register, and you need to contact them directly to ask to be placed on this register.
Energy efficiency advice

Energy Saving Advice Service provides impartial advice to all households

·         Tel: 0300 123 1234 (local rates apply)
Warm Home Discount
People receiving age or income-related benefits may be eligible for a Warm Home Discount, either automatically or on application.
Tel: 0845 603 9439 or visit https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme
·        

Best deal for energy costs
Consumer Focus publish a list of accredited switching agencies on their website: http://www.consumerfocus.org.uk/get-advice/energy/confidence-code
For advice on switching supplier call Citizens Advice Consumer Service on: 08454 040506

Benefit entitlement checks
·         Your first point of contact should be your local authority benefits team or Citizens Advice Bureau.
·          
·         Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) may provide this service locally.
·          
·         Tel: 08444 111 444
·       Web: www.citizensadvice.org.uk
·       Other agencies such as the Department for Work and Pensions (see local phonebook) or voluntary sector agencies such as Age UK (Tel: 0800 169 6565) may also provide advice for some households


Off-grid consumer protection
If you have a complaint about a supplier of heating oil or LPG your first contact should be with Citizens Advice Consumer Service on: 08454 040506

Fuel debt advice
·         If you are having difficulty paying for electricity you should contact your supplier direct. You can also get advice and guidance from the Home Heat Helpline: 0800 336 699

Home Improvement Agencies
These are locally-based organisations that assist vulnerable homeowners and private sector tenants to repair, improve, maintain or adapt their homes. They can offer a range of services such as helping to make a home more energy efficient. Call Foundations on 0845 8645210 or visit www.foundations.uk.com/hiasearch

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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.