As the winter begins in earnest, vulnerable people across North Yorkshire are being urged to take advantage of an innovative scheme to beat the cold.
People are being urged to come forward who might be eligible for help under the ‘Hotspots’ scheme, which works by helping older people and those on a low income to access services which make a real difference in the cold weather.
North Yorkshire County Council, which is spearheading the scheme, has been awarded funding by the Department of Health through the Warm Homes Healthy People programme.
Hotspots acts as an early warning system by identifying people at risk. It is a multi-agency venture involving the council and Yorkshire Energy Partnership, along with a number of other partners.
Based on a referral system the scheme has two main aims; to create an awareness of the risks of cold weather and fuel poverty among both staff and the community at large and to involve frontline staff in identifying people at risk. Trained to be alert to the dangers of cold to vulnerable householders, staff can then set up an initial screening, with the option of referring them for support and specialist advice to the contact centre of the Yorkshire Energy Partnership based in York via a simple and freepost ‘Hotspots’ referral card. People can also self-refer.
The Hotspots referral will set in motion:
- energy efficiency advice
- assessment for eligibility for home improvement and insulation schemes
- benefits entitlement checks
- home safety check from the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
County councillor Clare Wood, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Health and Adult Services said:
There are potentially thousands of residents who can benefit from this scheme. We recognise the vital role it plays in keeping people safe and warm in their homes, reducing fuel poverty and in turn, ill health. We intend to ensure that as many people benefit from the scheme as possible.
People who would like to find out more about the scheme or know of somebody who would benefit from it, can contact the Hotspots team on 01904 545020.