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Healthy Homes Solutions receives £490k to broaden support to help vulnerable people

HEALTHY HOMES Solutions (HHS) has received over £490k which will allow them to work in partnership with other organisations and utilities to enhance its support for vulnerable people across Wales and south west of England.

Through the funding, the HHS initiative, which works in partnership with the Vulnerability Registration Service (VRS), will spotlight the detrimental impact of fuel poverty on health and wellbeing and signpost those living in vulnerable and in-poverty homes across the country to a host of organisations.

HHS has received the funding through gas emergency and pipeline service, Wales & West Utilities, which has a Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA) fund.

The funding will allow HHS to provide immediate registration to the Priority Services Register (PRS), Telephone Preference Service (TPS), whilst offering a host of additional support services, including carbon monoxide advice and monitors, cancer care, Warm Homes Discounts Scheme, DWP Benefits and Home Improvement Grants Checker, damp and mould advice, Heating Your Home Advice from NEA, mental health support, debt management advice, free water saving kits, broadband social tariffs and information on reducing your energy bills.

Derek Owen, Managing Director at HHS, said: “The funding will allow us to partner and collaborate with organisations and utilities across Wales & West Utilities region, to ensure that vulnerable and in-poverty homes not only receive consistent information but also benefit from a tailored triage service that addresses both energy efficiency and the broader challenges of today’s living costs and wellbeing.

“We will bring together information and seek to pave the way for a unified platform, harmonising the efforts of different services and utilities to offer a streamlined, accessible and one-stop solution for vulnerable and most in need homes and returning a very positive social return on investment for the VCMA funding.

“This funding will allow us to provide one route for people in vulnerable circumstances so that they can seek some of the support and benefits that they are entitled to, whilst taking a positive step towards resolving issues without being expected to automatically know what that support could be, navigating numerous websites and completing complicated forms. The service is now available at www.vrshhs.org.”

This expansion to provide support across Wales & West Utilities region follows a pilot, and a further 10k home extension, which was run in Manchester, Birmingham, North London, and East England and started in 2022.

Sophie Shorney, VCMA Manager at Wales & West Utilities, said: “We are delighted to provide this vital funding through the VCMA. The fund allows us to work in partnership with organisations to reach more people and provide them with the help they need to ensure they receive the right support and help with their bills, to help keep them safe and warm in their own homes.

“HHS has already demonstrated its impact in helping vulnerable people through its current HHS & VRS vulnerability initiative and we are hopeful that this expansion will allow more people across the Wales & West Utilities region get the appropriate help and support they need.”

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Helen Lord, CEO of the VRS, added: “The HHS & VRS initiative exemplifies the remarkable outcomes we can accomplish through collaborative efforts toward a shared vision. This approach is unique and innovative and ensures accessibility for everyone experiencing vulnerability. It represents a significant breakthrough in reducing stress and anxiety, offering a platform where services are clearly presented, and residents can easily access the support and information they need to address their vulnerabilities. I would encourage more utility companies to get involved and support this initiative.”

Between April 2021 to March 2026, Wales & West Utilities has £25m to spend on projects which support consumers in vulnerable situations and raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and keep people safe from the ‘silent killer’.

Funding is distributed through the Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA), and 75% of the money will be spent on projects relevant to Wales and south west England only, while 25% will be spent on collaborative projects with the other gas networks across the whole of the UK.

If you have a project that you think Wales & West Utilities could support, either individually or collaboratively with other gas networks, then contact Wales & West Utilities at [email protected].

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night.

To learn more or to partner with HHS please visit here.