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Council welcomes £1.2m funding to support energy measures

Cornwall Council’s Green Cornwall team, working with partners Community Energy Plus, the Eden Project, the NHS and Energyshare, has been successful in its bid for more than £300,000 in funding from the Department for Energy and Climate Change to combat fuel poverty. It also worked with Cornwall Together and the Eden Project to put in a further bid for nearly £900,000 to support fuel switching in Cornwall.

Part of this money will directly help people who are suffering from fuel poverty in Cornwall by providing essential insulation measures in over 500 vulnerable households. This will be underpinned by a referral service to ensure that the most vulnerable householders can access the service.

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“This funding is very welcome,” said Councillor Carolyn Rule, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for Health & Wellbeing. “We need to offer a joined up approach to help vulnerable people with the very real threat of fuel poverty and the whole raft of health issues that can result from having to live in a cold, poorly insulated and often damp home.  This additional money will give the agencies involved the resources to help target support to those in most need and at most risk.”

Dionne Jones from Community Energy Plus (CEP) said; “The confirmation of this funding is fantastic news. With an increasing amount of people being forced into fuel poverty, the funding is vital to ensure that the most vulnerable householders will be able to have their homes insulated and avoid the health, financial and environmental risks associated with fuel poverty.”

Councillor Mark Kaczmarek, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for Housing and Planning, said: “I am delighted that Cornwall has been successful in obtaining this funding. The Government’s Green Deal programme is very new and is not well understood, and it is imperative that Cornish residents are provided with the best information possible. We can do this by strengthening our working relationships with the many partnerships and agencies to deliver these vital services. I am also very keen that the Council looks at its own planning processes to ensure that they are fit for purpose when the Green Deal rolls out this year.”

The funding for fuel switching, which was led by Eden, will build on the success of the Cornwall-based fuel switching initiative Cornwall Together. By raising awareness and further promoting the benefits of fuel switching, it is hoped residents together will be able to save hundreds of thousands of pounds. It is expected that this campaign will reach at least 100,000 households who are most at risk of fuel poverty. Evidence from Cornwall Together shows that many households can save hundreds of pounds a year simply by switching their gas and/or electricity provider as part of the collective.

Matt Hastings, Cornwall Together project manager, said: “We are very excited to have won this DECC grant which will help Cornwall Together unite people in our county and hopefully secure significant energy savings.

“Winning this competition will enable us to improve the level of awareness, especially among groups who have traditionally been hard to reach. We will also change the joining process with prospective members now able to see the savings they stand to make before they get involved. This is a very exciting time for Cornwall!”

Steven Ford, the Council’s Green Cornwall Programme Manager, said: “We hope that this funding will start the process of helping Cornish residents to tackle the challenges of rising energy prices through a combination of better insulation of their properties, coupled with a greater understanding of the energy markets and how collective switching can in many instances help reduce bills.

“The Council, along with its partners, is determined that through our collective leadership we can start to effect change that will make a real difference to the relationship that Cornish residents have with their energy moving forward. In the longer term, this journey would include the greater use of renewable energy.”  

Anyone experiencing serious financial difficulty as a result of winter energy bills or is suffering from ill health associated with living in a cold home is advised to call the free phone no 0800 954 1956.

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