4,000 Lincolnshire residents missing out on share of £250k to help heat homes
More than 4,000 people are missing out on a share of £250,000 to help heat their homes – because they don't realise they are eligible for the cash.
Residents in Lincolnshire could qualify for a share if their household income is less than £23,500, have savings of less than £10,000 or suffer with a chronic, acute or long-term illness or disability.
The money, from the government's "Warm Homes Healthy People" fund, is managed by the Responders To Warmth (R2W) scheme which runs in partnership with Lincolnshire County Council.
And R2W manager Alan Jones is urging people to see if they are eligible for help if they are struggling to keep warm.
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"Many people are unaware that this support is available to them," he said.
"Last year we helped just over 2,700 people up to the end of April 2012.
"We are looking at a target of helping around 4,500 households and we have helped 400 to date.
"We can take around 60 calls a day asking for support. We endeavour to help people where we can.
"We want anybody who thinks they need support or advice on heating solutions this winter to get in touch with us and if we can help we will.
"Even if we can't help directly, we will strive to give proper advice to people on the best course of action to take."
More than 70,000 people are in fuel poverty in Lincolnshire, defined as when a person cannot afford to keep their home warm relative to their income.
The charity can use the money to provide practical support such as handy-man services, insulation, heating repairs, emergency heaters, boiler replacements and draught-proofing.
People who get state benefits including Child Tax Credit, Pensioner Credit or income support can also qualify for a share of the money.
"This is our second year of working on behalf of the county council," added Mr Jones.
"We were asked by the county council to bid for a grant from the Department of Health to help people cope with the struggles of winter.
"It was a one-off scheme but the Government decided to run it again and we have secured the £250,000 funding for this year too.
"We want to help as many people as we can because fuel poverty is a serious concern."
Sue Woolley, executive councillor for Health, Housing and Community, praised the scheme.
"This is such a worthwhile scheme and the people we helped last year said they felt healthier and more cared for and we will be using this funding to help in even more communities this year," she said.
"Because this is a one-off grant, we will also be looking at how we can develop longer-term ways of minimising the effects of cold housing and fuel poverty in communities in the future."