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Pioneering Warm Wales Fuel Poverty Partnership Project Praised by Carwyn Jones, AM for Bridgend and First Minister for Wales

A PIONEERING project launched by our parent company, Warm Wales Cymru Gynnes at a Wales & West Housing Association (WWHA) retirement scheme to help tackle the issue of fuel poverty has been given the ‘thumbs up’ by First Minister for Wales, Carwyn Jones.

The project, at The Beeches retirement complex in Bridgend, is the result of a partnership between Warm Wales, WWHA and Wales and West Utilities Ltd (WWU) kicks off the fuel poor initiative which is to be rolled out across Wales.

“I am delighted that this scheme to bring cost effective warmth to those who live at The Beeches in Bridgend has been so successful,” said Mr Jones, AM for Bridgend.

“I understand this is the first such project in Wales and I am really pleased that I was able to help the residents in kick-starting the project.”

Phil Roberts, Chief Executive of Warm Wales said: “We are delighted that Ofgem and Wales & West Utilities have forged these arrangements for households in Wales and the South West of England.  We believe that the arrangements will provide the missing link in the funding chain for many families. Householders have nothing to lose and may discover they have much to gain by taking a few minutes to reply to us.”

Graham Edwards, WWU’s Chief Executive, said: “This is a positive step forward in addressing the issue of fuel poverty and we are delighted to have worked with Warm Wales and Wales & West Housing Association in ensuring that this local retirement complex is one of the first to benefit from the scheme.”

The fuel poor scheme, to extend WWU’s gas network to fuel poor communities and individuals who have previously not been able to benefit from a connection to gas mains, comes after agreement with industry regulator, Ofgem.  Warm Wales will be working with WWU to help to deliver the initiative.

Warm Wales is responsible for evaluating applications against criteria set by the regulator.   They may also be able to identify additional help for those who might not be aware of the opportunities available for heating, home energy saving and support.

The project involved making a gas connection to the scheme (from the mains gas supply in the main road passing in front of the scheme), removing electric storage heaters and hot water cylinders and replacing them with new energy efficient, combination & condensing boilers and new central heating systems.  These are fitted with thermostatic radiator control valves, timer s and programmers. The boilers allow for separate temperature control of the heating and hot water temperatures.  The programmer is designed for use by people with impaired sight.

Warm Wales was able to bring together a package of funding and work with the key partners to make the project happen. The gas work (service connections and pipes) would normally cost just over £30,000 but was 100% funded from the new grant scheme offered by WWU. Residents qualified for grant aid on grounds of either age or benefits received.  Further grants reduced the cost of the new heating systems. Warm Wales made the gas connection grant arrangements on behalf of WWHA, as WWU ‘community interest’ partner, and introduced WWHA to other grant opportunities to cut the cost of installing the new heating.

The work was completed quickly, within a few weeks.  A formal opening took place at which First Minster Carwyn Jones AM and all the project partners celebrated with the residents. The reaction of The Beeches residents has been really positive.

What makes Warm Wales different?

Warm Wales Cymru Gynnes is a registered Community Interest Company and operates on a ‘not for profit’ basis.   It reinvests its business savings n the projects it carries out within the communities where it works to bring a legacy of positive achievement.  It offers consultancy, project management and funding maximization services. Warm Wales believes it is the only organisation offering this unique blend of knowledge, expertise and access to funding to the social housing sector in Wales.

Warm Wales Cymru Gynnes is able to carry out similar projects across Wales, putting together a package of grant aid and bringing together the right partners.  If you’d like more information on the project or want to know how Warm Wales Cymru Gynnes might be able to help you call 01639 825960 or email info@ieservices.org.uk