Vulnerable to receive heating help

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Home fire. Pic by JMU Journalism

Home fire. Pic by JMU Journalism

Local charity Dying to Keep Warm has paired up with Liverpool City Council’s Healthy Homes team to provide items for homes in crisis.

Afroza Ahmed, founder of the charity, told JMU Journalism: “There is no doubt that this work has saved lives.”

Hundreds of homes across Merseyside and Lancashire have redeemed the benefits of the partnership’s help after a pilot scheme during the winter.

The scheme works through referral of a community worker or authority that works closely with households in need of help or support. The Healthy Homes has trained advocates who knock on the doors in identified deprived areas with the aim of engaging residents and carrying out surveys on their living conditions.

Dying to Keep Warm will then access the referral and will, the majority of the time, be able to offer the free-of-charge heating appliances that homes need.

Ahmed said: “I work as a frontline and so I’ve brought up these risks with the community, one time a carer noticed that the heater was broken in an elderly man’s home so they wrote it in the notes, but by the morning he was dead. This is something that needs to be prevented.”

She explained how the majority of those in need of help are elderly people with conditions such as dementia or physical mobile disabilities. Dying to Keep Warm has donated over 500 oil filled radiators and fitted around 450 monoxide alarms as well as almost 40 gas safety switches to the households referred.

She told JMU Journalism: “We give everything for free as people don’t have the money. We say to them this is something for you to keep you safe, it won’t cost you anything will you have it, and they virtually always say ‘yes’.”

Afroza hopes that the charity will continue its work and reach its aim of working on a national level with support from local businesses and services.

Joe Doherty, Health & Wellbeing Manager of the Healthy Homes Programme, said: “This sort of activity, [giving out] radiators and heaters as well as our winter survival campaign goes a long was to reducing that [the number of winter deaths].”

About Kerryleigh Gough, JMU Journalism