How to keep warm this winter


It’s time to think about how to keep warm and well this winter, whatever the weather throws at us. Luckily, there is help available for many people.

New phase of the Green Deal

The government has just announced a second phase of the Green Deal Improvement Fund which pays a percentage of the cost of installing insulation or renewable heating. The first phase earlier this year was very popular and the money ran out in only six weeks. The new phase is due to start in November but there are no details yet. It’s worth keeping an eye open if you are interested because it will be first come, first served.

Community Oil Scheme

If you use oil to heat your home, the Somerset Community Oil Scheme could save you money. It purchases oil in bulk for people who join the scheme, making it cheaper.  It announced recently that this October saw the cheapest price in three years. For more information about joining the scheme, contact Marion by email, or by phone 01993 225 011.

Warm Home Discount

People on lower incomes may be able to get grants from other schemes. The Warm Home Discount of £140 is paid automatically to pensioners who receive guaranteed pension credit. It is paid directly into their electricity bill (or they will be sent a voucher if they are on a pre-payment meter). Others may also apply although they won’t get it automatically. Those on a low income or suffering from long term sickness or disability can ring their electricity company and ask how to apply for it.

Winter Fuel Allowance

All pensioners get the government’s Winter Fuel Allowance (£200 or £300 for those 80 or over) no matter what their income. For many it’s a lifeline but there are others who don’t really need it. The Somerset Community Foundation invites those pensioners to donate their Allowance so that it can help other pensioners who struggle to pay their heating bills. They set up the Surviving Winter project to collect and distribute the money. Pensioners in Somerset have been generous and considerable funds have been donated in previous years. If you would like to make a donation, ring the Somerset Community Foundation on 01749 344 949.

Surviving Winter

For the fourth year running, Forum 21 will be helping the Somerset Community Foundation with the Surviving Winter project, to find and make grants to people over 50 in West Somerset. Grants of up to £250 can be made to pensioners who receive pension credit, and people over 50 who are unable to work because of disability or long term sickness. To apply, ring Lorna Scott on 01984 634 242.

All these grants are intended to help people keep warm in winter. We know that cold can kill and West Somerset has a high number of winter deaths. Please apply for these grants if you think you may be eligible.
October 2014

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