Safe, Warm Homes

The Safe, Warm Homes Working Group uniquely brings together a range of partner organisations covering the energy, health, safety and housing sectors. The Group aims to utilise the Age Action Alliance as a means of identifying and supporting older households on housing, fuel poverty, energy efficiency and safety issues. The Group intends that its work will reduce the level of excess winter deaths in the UK, and tackle issues of morbidity linked to living in cold and poor housing conditions, while identifying and promoting good practice for wider dissemination/adoption.

A Message from the Chair

Maria Wardrobe, Director of Communications at NEA

Maria Wardrobe, Director of Communications at NEA

“NEA is delighted that the Age Action Alliance continues to thrive and provides a vehicle to get messages across to older people to help them keep safe and warm in their own homes. Assistance is available to help those on low incomes and there is a range of resources with links attached below to help them navigate the various schemes and programmes available.

If you haven’t already joined the Alliance please do so. If you have any resources or information relevant to the Safe, Warm Homes Group please send us a link to them on your website. Many thanks, Maria”

Current Focus

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Fuel Poverty – the Facts

Even at a conservative estimate, based on the Government’s new definition in England, there are currently 2.5 million households which are estimated to be living in fuel poverty, that is they are unable to afford to heat their homes to the level required for comfort and wellbeing.

Fuel poverty is caused by three factors;

  • Inadequate heating and insulation
  • Low incomes
  • The increasingly high cost of energy

It is most prevalent amongst vulnerable households including;

  • Those on low incomes
  • People with children under the age of 16
  • People with disabilities or suffering from a long-term illness
  • Older people

The consequences of fuel poverty range from psychological stress, worry and social isolation, to causing or exacerbating serious illness such as respiratory and circulatory conditions. Those in fuel poverty often have to face the stark choice between spending what they need to heat their home adequately and either falling into debt; or rationing their energy use and living in cold damp homes that are dangerous to their health. Others spend money on fuel and reduce their purchasing of other necessities, such as food.

Fuel poverty can be particularly severe in rural areas where properties are often colder, are not suitable for cavity wall insulation, and are off the gas network and so have to rely on more expensive forms of heating.

Popular Resources

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Self-help guides – Care & Repair England, working with Silverlinks

Alliance Product

Self-help guides on Making your home a better place to live with a long-term condition Care & Repair England, working with Silverlinks, has a range of self-help guides for older people with long term conditions and their carers on making their home a better place to live. There are six guides covering respiratory, macular and heart disease, dementia, stroke and arthritis; and a general online guide for people with long term conditions. Each guide advises on what people can do to their home to make living with long term conditions more manageable. They look at areas such as: - • design and layout • lighting and heating • safety, security and technology • gadgets and equipment • going out and about The aim is to make life easier so that people can continue to live independently and do the things they want to do. The guides also describe the range of alternative housing options and offer suggestions about where to find more detailed information, advice and help. You can access the guides on Silverlink’s Information for Older People page.

EngAgeNet’s comprehensive new publication: ‘A New Narrative on Ageing’

Member Resource

Negative portrayals of older people are commonplace: the media is largely preoccupied with the assumed cost of ageing, reinforcing a view that older people are dead weight in society - non-productive beneficiaries of state largesse; at the same time, however, they are perceived as well off, and in the eyes of some social commentators responsible for both the housing crisis and youth unemployment.  Like any group outside the social mainstream, older people are routinely stereotyped and are the subject of many false assumptions and untruths.