Hoarders helped to declutter to avoid fuel poverty

An organisation that helps hundreds of vulnerable people across Suffolk declutter their houses and lofts to help them keep warm and avoid fuel poverty, has been boosted by a £20,000 grant from UK Power Networks.

Garry Mills, CEO of Lofty Heights, said the new funding will provide vital support for customers to have their homes decluttered, and access additional support to improve their energy efficiency. More than 300 people will be helped as a result of the support.

The money has been awarded under the Power Partners scheme run by UK Power Networks.

Through the partnership the community interest company Lofty Heights will use its new funding to declutter homes or tackle hoarding that prevents people getting heating upgrades.

The company also make room so that loft or cavity wall insulation, can be installed and to enable tradespeople to access the property.

Mr Mills explained that lockdown had exacerbated clutter problems for many people and the decluttering will help them remain in their own homes for longer. The organisation also organises a hospital discharge service which identifies cold homes and refers customers who need further help and support.

A cluttered home before being cleared.

He said: “Many of the homes we visit are cold, mouldy or damp without heating, or they rely on open electric fires or portable electric radiators which are often expensive to run, inefficient and pose fire risks.

Cluttered and hoarded homes are a hidden problem, with individuals often deemed as hard to reach’ and only coming to the attention of authorities as a result of a crisis such as a medical emergency or when a social or environment problem within the home is reported. Lockdown had many negative consequences for these vulnerable people.

Power Partners was launched by UK Power Networks in 2019 to help local communities’ energy needs and refocused to respond to fuel poverty.

Since the fund was launched 52 groups have received funding for each for their projects. Almost £1 million has been granted in the past three years and been used to advise people how to reduce energy bills and help organisations make community spaces more energy efficient through insulation, heating or lighting upgrades.

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