Cheshire East Council and its partners are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter.
We urge residents to be aware of benefits that they could be entitled to and to take advantage.
Thousands of Cheshire East residents could be missing out on extra financial support that they are entitled to – with benefits available to help people during the colder months.
We have entered that time of the year when temperatures drop, which makes us more reliant on our central heating. For those with older systems and boilers, this can cause problems and worry.
However, in some circumstances, the council can access funding for gas safety checks, heating repairs, replacement boilers and first-time central heating systems.
There are a number of ways you may qualify, including some welfare benefits, a combination of low income and high heating costs or certain health conditions, which are made worse by the cold.
The council’s care and repair service provides support to older, disabled and vulnerable people to improve their homes so they are safe and warm. The service includes accessing affordable warmth grants for heating and help to organise the works.
For more information, visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/careandrepair
The Energy Company Obligation scheme gives people receiving certain income-related benefits the opportunity to get help with insulating and heating their home. The funding is provided by the large energy suppliers and in Cheshire East there is ‘flexible eligibility’, which means the scheme can be extended to include people who are at risk of fuel poverty or who are vulnerable to the cold.
If you are a homeowner or private tenant, ring the council’s housing standards and adaptations team on 0300 123 5017 to find out if you are eligible or visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/helpwithheating.
For free and impartial advice about energy saving measures, grants and discounts, contact the save energy advice line on 0800 043 0151. They will be able to signpost you to companies offering help with funding for heating and insulation.
You don’t always have to be on a low income to access help – there are many schemes available offering free or discounted insulation.
One in 10 older people cut back on their winter heating to make ends meet but. if you were born on or before 5 November 1953, a tax-free winter fuel payment of between £100 and £300 is available to help you pay your heating bills. Any money you get will not affect your other benefits.
A cold weather payment may also be available to you if you receive certain benefits.
Payments are made automatically when your local temperature is either recorded as, or forecast to be, an average of 0C or below over seven consecutive days. This scheme runs from 1 November 2018 to 31 March 2019.
Most payments are made automatically between November and December, if you get the state pension or another social security benefit. You should get your money by 14 January 2019. If you qualify, but don’t get paid automatically, you will need to make a claim by calling 0800 731 0160 before 31 March 2019.
Councillor Liz Wardlaw, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for health, said: “Making your home more energy efficient will save you money on your fuel bills and will also improve your health by making your home warmer.
“There is support available to help you cover the costs of winter, so make sure you are accessing the relevant benefits and payments. If you think you may be eligible for schemes, don’t delay making an enquiry.”
For further winter wellbeing advice, visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/livewell and scroll down to the winter wellbeing section. Further information about winter-related benefits can be found under the ‘stay warm’ tab.
Advice can also be found on the council’s Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/cheshireeastcouncil and on Twitter at: @CheshireEast
Residents are urged to help friends and neighbours, who do not have internet access, by speaking to them about the help available and downloading and printing off information from the website for them.