www.hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk     Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
CA 1066 CEO with Belgian partner in SHINE in Carisbrooke Road

Tracy Dighton, Citizens Advice 1066 CEO, with Belgian partner in SHINE in Carisbrooke Road.

SHINE: Energy initiative launches

Fuel poverty, a major issue in Hastings and St Leonards-on-Sea, means paying fuel bills results in a state of poverty. Reducing fuel poverty, lowering fuel bills, helping people to keep warm and spreading the word about energy efficiency methods are all within the remit of SHINE (Sustainable Houses In Inclusive Neighbourhoods), which launched on 26 October at Christ Church Hall in St Leonards. Zelly Restorick writes.

Tracy Dighton, CEO of Citizens Advice 1066, was catalysed into responding to the fuel poverty crisis when she saw statistics provided by Marie Jones, East Sussex Fuel Poverty Coordinator, stating that after a cold snap, there is a sharp increase in the number of deaths from heart attacks, respiratory diseases and strokes. Cold weather really is a killer.

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The energy initiative SHINE is funded by the European Regional Development Fund / Interreg 2 Seas programme and is a collaboration between Hastings Borough Council, housing provider Optivo and Citizens Advice 1066.

“The project runs to 2020 and has attracted funding worth 2 million,’ says Tracy Dighton. “We’re working with twelve partner organisations including Brighton and Hove Council and others based in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The three local collaborating organisations will be providing energy efficiency measures to over 300 households in St Leonards – and Citizens Advice 1066 together with Energise Sussex Coast will be providing energy advice to all local residents.

“The aim of the project is to bring households up to a healthy and warm state – for families and other residents, using energy efficiency measures, advice to help people make some changes to stay warmer and on saving money.”

Need energy help or advice?

If you or someone you know needs fuel advice, then visit the Citizens Advice 1066 office at Renaissance House on London Road in St Leonards between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday, or call the helpline on 03444 111444 or go to the website: www.citizensadvice1066.co.uk and send an email. Also, every Monday from the beginning of November, they will be running a drop-in energy advice clinic in their reception area.

Energise Sussex Coast

Energise Sussex Coast

Seeking Energy Champions

Interested in becoming an Energise Sussex Coast Energy Champion? There’re lots of ways to get involved. You can contact Richard Watson on hello@energisesussexcoast.co.uk or phone 07854 951325. You’ll receive excellent training and skills building opportunities, including advice on how to reduce your own and other people’s energy usage and bills; be invited to social gatherings and know you’re making an extremely valuable contribution to our environment and local community.

The challenge of climate change

Diana Lock from Optivo Housing said: “SHINE is designed to jointly tackle fuel poverty and climate change consequences.

“Currently, four million households in the UK live in fuel poverty, where they’re on a low income, can’t afford their bills and the heating systems are inefficient. In terms of climate change, the UK needs to reduce CO2 emissions by 34% by 2020, 80% by 2050, and this is a huge challenge to the construction industry and housing associations. We and the other SHINE partners share information on how these targets can be reached, including innovation and technology, mistakes and successes.”

Public health concerns

Marie Jones, East Sussex Fuel Poverty Co-ordinator, said: “We lose 350 people each year from fuel poverty and cold housing. Some of the core difficulties involve people living in cheap rental accommodation with the least efficient energy systems which are the most expensive to heat, with key meters charged at a higher rate, less insulation and low income. The combination of these factors leads to a whole range of health issues, both physical and mental.

“The UK is the 4th worst country in Europe in terms of winter deaths. The temperature falls, the death rate rises. For the average person, keeping your property at a temperature of 18 degrees C prevents illnesses developing and lowers the risk of death.

Raindrops

Raindrops by ZR

“Most at risk are the elderly, the poor, the sick and those who cannot move around. Children also suffer the consequences: the cycle of living in a cold home, fuel poverty, damp and mould mean they’re less likely to have friends round and have an increased risk of developing mental health issues – and diminished life chances.”

UnknownYou may be entitled to free support to keep warm this winter as part of the ESCC Winter Home Check Service. For more information, call 0800 085 1674 or visit Warm East Sussex or check out Keep Warm.

Posted 18:00 Wednesday, Nov 1, 2017 In: Energy Wise


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