Warden schemes to benefit from Hopkins Winter Crisis Fund

Seven warden schemes in Cambridgeshire have been given funding from a £150,000 fund set up by developer Hopkins Homes to help alleviate fuel poverty in East Anglia.

The fund will distribute £35,000 to Cambridgeshire with over £13,000 already having been given out as small grants to individuals in the form of fuel vouchers and direct assistance with energy saving measures.

Alongside individual grants, organisations helping vulnerable groups will be supported with grants of up to £5,000 which can be used to provide hot meals, fuel vouchers or other measures to alleviate the pressures facing many this winter.

One such organisation is Age UK Cambridgeshire & Peterborough which has been given grants totally £7,198 from the fund to support warden schemes it operates throughout the county.

Warden schemes, like the one in Ramsey, offer support to elderly people living in their own homes, through a daily phone call or home visit. The warden can assist with tasks such as shopping, filling in forms, making phone calls or just pop round for a chat and a cup of tea. The warden is also able to refer their client to other support agencies such as a handyman service or can alert family members or health care providers if they have concerns about the client's wellbeing.

Andy Morris, Chief Operating Officer for Age UK Cambridgeshire & Peterborough said: "There's always a high demand for our services but during cold weather this increases markedly as our elderly clients are more likely to struggle due to higher than usual fuel bills; greater risks of falls and other winter associated illnesses; greater risk of isolation and issues when discharged from hospital.

"The support from the Hopkins Winter Crisis Fund has ensured we can keep up with demand and help more of our elderly residents to remain in their own homes."

Joshua Hopkins of the Hopkins Charitable Fund said: "The Winter Crisis Fund was always intended to alleviate some of the additional challenges and pressures faced by vulnerable people when the temperature drops. The warden schemes are an excellent initiative to help support older residents, helping them with household tasks and providing a point of daily contact should they need further assistance from medial or social services."

The fund is administered by the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, CEO Michael O'Toole said: "It's estimated that in localised areas of East Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire and South Cambridgeshire the percentage of households in fuel poverty reaches levels ranging from 16-22.8 per cent which is up to double the national average, a statistic I find quite shocking.

"Since the Hopkins Winter Crisis Fund was launched, we've received applications from across the county and expect this to continue as the weather turns colder. It is great to be working with Hopkins Homes in helping people overcome the impact of fuel poverty."

The other warden schemes to receive funding from the Hopkins Winter Crisis Fund are: Horseheath, Balsham, Weston Colville, West Wratting, West Wickham and Castle Camps.

Individuals must be referred through their local authority of by voluntary sector organisations. For more information on the grants visit: www.cambscf.org.uk/hopkins-homes-winter-crisis-fund.html