Torridge District Council secures grants worth £3m for local residents to enable them to carry out heating and insulation upgrades to their homes.
Almost 1,000 residents in the Torridge area of Devon have been quick to take advantage of new grants that have been made available to them for heating and insulation upgrades, thanks to the launch of a new grant scheme by Torridge District Council, in partnership with Heat Devon.
The grants, funded by energy companies, cover a wide range of upgrades, including boiler replacements, partial grants for full central heating installation and insulation for lofts and walls. Unlike previous heating grant schemes, residents do not always need to be in receipt of benefit, and, subject to certain criteria, may be eligible if their net household income is below £30,000, after deducting costs including mortgage or rent, annual energy and council tax bills.
Janet Williams, Environmental Health and Community Safety Manager for Torridge District Council said: “We launched the service with Heat Devon in Torridge in December last year, and have been delighted with the take-up rate. We know that many residents in Torridge are on low incomes, and suffer from high fuel bills due to lack of access to mains gas and due to their homes having solid walls. This can sometimes lead to people having to choose between ‘heating and eating’, which is especially concerning for people who suffer from illnesses which are made worse by the cold, or where the household has young children or elderly residents.”
Adrian Wright from Heat Devon, the organisation who manages the service, said: “There is a common misconception that to be fuel poor, or vulnerable to the cold, you are likely to be on benefit. Devon, however, is full of people who could be described as JAMs, or households who are ‘Just About Managing’. Of the 600 people in Torridge who are in the process of having their upgrades installed by Heat Devon, only 18% are on benefit, yet their average income after housing costs is only £17,000, more than £10,000 below the UK median disposable income of £27,200. 63% of these households also have an occupant who suffers from an illness made worse by the cold, such as asthma, arthritis and heart conditions.”
Councillor Cathrine Simmons Lead Member for Housing at Torridge added: “It is great to see Torridge District Council leading the way with this new energy saving initiative. From a standing start, and in just six months, around 600 of our local residents will receive grants from Heat Devon worth up to £3m, helping them to have lower bills, and a warmer healthier home. We would urge other residents who haven’t yet taken advantage of these grants to contact Heat Devon for further information.”
Pictured above from left to right are: Janet Williams, Torridge District Council, Vicky and Ian Irving, Torridge residents from Hartland who have recently received a grant for a new oil boiler upgrade, and Adrian Wright from Heat Devon.