Better Housing, Better Health

Better Housing, Better Health

In 2016 we ran a successful pilot health and housing referral service in 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 referral mechanism was updated in 2017 and we continue to offer vital support for vulnerable residents whose health is at risk.

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.

Find out about our successful Better Housing, Better Health pilot

What we offer

Our pilot project funded by the British Gas Energy Trust has now come to end. However, the service is still running in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire and continues to offer home visits to identify potential risks to health, along with support installing small measures and assistance with benefits assessments and switching energy tariff or supplier. While the scheme is no longer able to offer the £2,500 for capital improvements, clients will be assessed to see if they are eligible for alternative grant funding.

The eligibility for the scheme has widened and health and social care professionals can now refer residents with any health condition which may be impacted by the cold to the National Energy Foundation, who will arrange for a free survey to be carried out by the Local Energy Advice Programme (LEAP). 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.

Free training for frontline health and social care staff

The Foundation is also still offering free training to frontline health and social care staff in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire about the link between cold homes and ill health, how to identify at risk patients and what support is available for vulnerable residents. If this might be of interest to your team, please contact matt.neal@nef.org.uk to arrange your free training session.

Interested in working together in your area?

Better Housing, Better Health currently only operates in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, yet there is great potential for this successful model to be replicated in other areas. If you are interested in working together to tackle the health impacts of cold homes and fuel poverty in your area, please contact alexandra.steeland@nef.org.uk.