Better Housing, Better Health

Better Housing, Better Health

We are working with a number of local authorities across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire to provide home energy checks and grants of up to £2,500 for energy efficiency improvements where someone’s health is being impacted by living in a cold or damp home. The funding for this scheme, including the grants, is being provided by the British Gas Energy Trust.

Better Housing, Better Health (BHBH) aims to reduce the health impacts of cold and damp housing and improve health and wellbeing for those living with a cardiovascular disease or respiratory illness. Cold homes cost the NHS in England £1.36 billion every year in hospital and primary care, and are particularly associated with respiratory problems and heart-attacks. Through BHBH, we aim to prevent ill health and reduce pressure on NHS services by making homes warmer and healthier places to live through practical energy efficiency improvements and advice.

We can offer:

  • Grants of up to £2,500 for energy efficiency measures for homeowners with a respiratory illness or cardiovascular disease.
  • Free surveys to identify potential risks to health for homeowners and private tenants with a respiratory illness or cardiovascular disease (excluding private tenants in South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse).
  • Benefits checks, fuel debt mediation and assistance with switching energy tariff or supplier from two dedicated BHBH Citizens Advice caseworkers for anyone in need of support, whatever type of housing you live in.

Referrals for the BHBH scheme must be made by a health or social care professional with access to verified medical information about the person being referred. However, if a potential beneficiary is identified by a non-health or social care professional or you wish to refer yourself for the scheme, we advise that you download the referral form and get it signed by a health or social care professional with access to verified medical information to confirm eligibility. Professionals who may make referrals include:

  • GPs.
  • Nurses.
  • Health visitors.
  • Social workers.
  • Occupational therapists.
  • Physiotherapists.

Grants available

On average, each eligible homeowner will be offered a grant of £1,000 from the scheme. However, the maximum grant available per household is £2,500. This amount will be dependent on the energy efficiency measures agreed, but may be supplemented with funding from other sources.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for the grant you must:

  1. Have someone in your household (adult or child) with a cardiovascular disease or a respiratory illness.
  2. Be a homeowner.
  3. Live in one of the following participating local authority areas in Oxfordshire or Buckinghamshire:
  • Aylesbury Vale District Council
  • Cherwell District Council
  • Chiltern District Council
  • Oxford City Council
  • South Bucks District Council
  • South Oxfordshire District Council
  • Vale of White Horse District Council
  • West Oxfordshire District Council
  • Wycombe District Council

Vulnerable groups who are particularly at risk from living in a cold or damp home include the elderly, low-income households, families with children under 5, people with disabilities and people with mental health issues.

The grant process

The BHBH grant process begins with a referral from a health or social care professional to confirm the eligible health condition. Following this, we will contact the person referred to confirm householder details and to arrange a home visit.

The home visit will be from a local authority officer who will assess whether the property is likely to be contributing to health conditions, and recommend property improvements that could be made to improve health, increase comfort and reduce energy use. Alongside this, individuals can also be referred to designated Citizens Advice workers in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire who can provide benefits checks and further advice in relation to switching providers, fuel debt alleviation and general energy saving tips.

Following the inspection, we will contact the householder to confirm the measures to be installed and the grant amount to be paid, arrange for an installer to provide a quote and to install the measures where necessary. The grant process flow chart provides more information about the process involved.

What do I do next?

If you think you or your client could be eligible for support from BHBH, download and fill in the referral form. This will then need to be signed by a health or social care professional to confirm eligibility for the scheme.

Additionally, if you would like more information or have any questions about the scheme, contact our Affordable Warmth Helpline.

Help promote the scheme

You can help to raise awareness of Better Housing, Better Health by displaying posters for health and social care professionals in staff rooms and for residents in waiting areas, and distributing flyers for health and social care professionals and the general public. Please download electronic copies below.

Guidance for installers

If you are an installer and have been approached about a householder who is eligible for a grant through Better Housing, Better Health, you can find out more information on the grant and what we require from you in our Guidance for Installers.