ADVICE and support to help tackle fuel poverty has been on hand at a special event in Middlesbrough.

National Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, which took place yesterday (February 23), has highlighted the impact fuel of poverty on those in need.

Organised by fuel poverty charity NEA (National Energy Action), the event brought together an array of agencies working to support those struggling to keep warm in their homes.

In Middlesbrough more than 9,000 homes – 15 per cent of households - are in fuel poverty, while in Redcar & Cleveland the figure is 12.8 per cent, or around 7,500 homes.

The Middlesbrough Affordable Warmth Partnership and Warm and Well in Redcar & Cleveland joined forces, and were outside the Live Well Centre in the Dundas Shopping Centre between 10am and 2pm helping with any inquiries about home energy efficiency, fuel bills or general benefits advice.

Middlesbrough Environment City, the Staying Put Agency, Cleveland Fire Brigade, Age UK Teesside and the Islamic Diversity Centre all had stalls in front of the Live Well Centre offering information and free giveaways.

Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd spoke at the event as part of a presentation by the Affordable Warmth Partnership.

Middlesbrough Affordable Warmth Partnership and Warm and Well in Redcar & Cleveland have been working hard to raise awareness of fuel poverty and deliver practical measures to help people improve the energy efficiency of their homes and save money on fuel bills.

By linking with several agencies across the region including Cleveland Fire Brigade, Age UK and CAB, they are able to offer help and support to fuel-poor and vulnerable householders from emergency heating and boiler repairs, to helping with switching energy supplier and making sure people are claiming all their benefit entitlement.

Councillor Julia Rostron, chair of Middlesbrough Environment City, said: “This important national event highlights both the impact fuel poverty is having in our region and the excellent work being undertaken to tackle it.

“Being unable to adequately heat your home leaves some people - particularly those with long term illnesses such as heart disease or lung disease - extremely vulnerable to the cold weather.

“The cost to the NHS of cold, damp homes is more than £1.4 billion each year.

“The most cost-effective way of helping people is by making homes more energy-efficient.

“Making homes warmer and more efficient not only improves the health and wellbeing of residents and also has a positive impact on social regeneration.”

  • For help and support to make your home warmer or help with fuel bills, Middlesbrough Affordable Warmth on 0800 3047084, or Warm and Well in Redcar & Cleveland on 01642 771289.