Keeping Kids Cosy is a new project designed to help families with young children who are struggling with fuel poverty. Recently launched by the National Energy Foundation, the project will work across the whole of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. It is funded by Scottish Power Energy People’s Trust and supported by the local authorities in the area.
According to the Government’s latest figures, there were approximately 1.04 million households with children living in fuel poverty in the UK in 2014, a number which has grown substantially since 2010. For infants, living in fuel poor homes is associated with a 30% greater risk of admission to hospital or primary care facilities. For children, fuel poor homes are associated with a significantly greater risk of respiratory problems and inadequate nutritional intake. For adolescents, living in a fuel poor home dramatically increases the risk of developing multiple mental health problems.
Keeping Kids Cosy will target both rural and urban areas of higher deprivation across the two counties where the latest government statistics show fuel poverty levels as high as 22.9%, or over one in five households. The scheme takes a holistic approach to alleviating fuel poverty, including providing energy savings advice and guidance, access to energy efficiency measures, and assistance with personal finance and other interventions. Keeping Kids Cosy aims to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable families with young children and reduce the pressure on health and social services.
The scheme will run until the 31 August 2017 and includes:
The National Energy Foundation is looking for help with stocking the energy efficiency house-warming hampers so any business or organisation that can donate any of the following products is asked to contact us (details on the right):
The National Energy Foundation is also offering free training to frontline staff who work with families in fuel poverty, including health and social care professionals. This will emphasise the link between cold homes and family wellbeing, explore how to identify and reduce fuel poverty, and explain how to make referrals to the scheme. Interested teams can contact AWN@nef.org.uk to find out more.
Matt Neal, a Project Officer at the National Energy Foundation and a father of a two-year-old, commented:
“Faced with stagnating income, rising fuel bills and various household priorities, looking after their children’s health and wellbeing is a daily struggle for many parents. We’re proud that we’ve got this opportunity to expand our current services to families who are deeply in need.
“Anyone who thinks they might be eligible for support from the scheme should either visit our website and download the grant application or contact our Affordable Warmth Helpline on 0800 107 0044. We are also planning lots of outreach activities so organisations that work with families with young children and think their clients might benefit from having a chat with us, should get in touch too.”