Ten Yorkshire councils, three Housing Associations and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority are helping local families and residents who have been struggling to keep warm.
A successful application for £1.7m of Government grant funding has assisted the Councils and Housing Associations to install central heating in the homes of 445 residents, most without mains gas. Almost 300 have been delivered through the Better Homes Yorkshire home energy efficiency programme.
The Councils and Housing Associations have been working with Northern Gas Networks, and National Grid to bring mains gas to homes across the Leeds City Region.
One couple lived in a property without a gas connection for 23 years until Leeds City Council wrote to them about the Central Heating Fund. They took up the offer and now have a new central heating system installed.
Describing life with a thermostat after years of being over- and under-heated by storage heaters, the couple said: “Having control at hand is fantastic, it makes life so much easier”.
Impressed with the two-day installation process, they said: “They were very efficient, the installation was very quick
“The guys have been fantastic”.
One lady in her 80s who has had heating installed through the scheme said: “It has made a world of difference. It used to be so cold!
“We didn’t used to go upstairs. We just used to huddle in front of the gas fire. We had to use electric blankets to stay warm”
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Investment Committee said: “I am pleased that through Better Homes Yorkshire, we have been able to help pensioners, young families and people with long-term medical conditions whose costly electric heating has left them struggling to keep warm.
“Winter is still a long way from being over and I would encourage any private home-owners or tenants having difficulty keeping warm, to contact the scheme.”
The central heating fund was a one-off initiative from the Government but Better Homes Yorkshire is looking to draw on future grants and initiatives which would help people to heat their homes more affordably. The scheme also offers quality heating systems and replacement boilers at affordable prices, even if you don’t qualify for funding.
Steve Batty, Framework Director for Better Homes Yorkshire, said: “It is sometimes hard to believe that in today’s society there are people living in homes with little or no central heating, so this was a particularly rewarding scheme to be involved in.
“The funding that we were able to attract into the Leeds City Region through the Better Homes Yorkshire Framework went to those people who would benefit from it most, with the new central heating systems having a really positive impact on the lives and living conditions of households across the region.”
For anyone else who is interested in improving the heating within their homes, we would urge customers to contact our customer service centre to see how we may be able to help by calling 0800 597 1500 or visiting www.betterhomesyorkshire.co.uk