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14 June 2017

New Report Reveals Worrying Prevalence of Cold Homes throughout North Yorkshire

It truly is astounding, considering all the comforts and luxuries that come with our modern lives, that there are still so many people in this very country struggling for the basic necessities such as a warm place in which to rest and recoup, a liveable home wherein conditions are safe rather than harmful. However, a new report from Community First Yorkshire, titled ‘Warm and Well in North Yorkshire’, has revealed that this in fact the exact situation faced by an alarmingly high number of North Yorkshire residents.

Img: ITV/Tonight (Breadline Britain)
The study, conducted over the time span of one year, found that up to 26,000 North Yorkshire residents are living in a state of fuel poverty, and are forced to spend more than 10% of their income on heating and other methods of keeping warm. Furthermore, the county’s overly-cold homes are responsible for between 200 and 400 deaths each year, with an additional 3,000 individuals being admitted to hospital for treatment of cold-related health issues over the same time span.

The purpose of the Warm and Well report wasn’t purely to ascertain these figures however; they also sought to offer some assistance and hopefully reduce the number of cold-related deaths. Bringing together around 30 individual agencies and charitable organisations, they hit the streets to offer help and advice on how to beat the cold, reaching around 4,000 people and further investing in the training of 300 frontline workers. This training involved detailing where individuals can get assistance in keeping themselves and their homes warm, as well as raising awareness of the impact of cold homes on people’s health.

Report author Candice Dowson said, “With poor or hard-to-heat housing stock, particularly in the countryside and rural areas, residents struggle to heat and insulate their homes in an efficient and affordable way that enables them to keep warm, well and safe in winter.

“The pressure on health services to pick up the pieces is on an unprecedented and unsustainable scale. More and more the health sector and local authorities must look for alternative methods to combat the crisis of fuel poverty.”

Ms Dowson continued to further stress just how widespread the issue has become in the county, stating within the report, “There are over 26,000 homes across North Yorkshire living in fuel poverty, ten per cent of the population, and this does not include the additional numbers at risk of falling below the warmth ‘breadline’.

“Despite its reputation for appearing to be an affluent part of the country, North Yorkshire has amongst the 20 per cent most deprived areas in England.”

Despite the scale of the task ahead of the organisations involved, Ms Dowson appears optimistic concerning the goals of the Warm and Well report:

“The range of organisations involved with Warm and Well is a great example of good practice. It has not been done on this scale before in North Yorkshire, and it means we have an amplified reach into communities. We have helped residents who had had no heat for five years, or who are sleeping downstairs to keep warm. Some have built up thousands of pounds worth of debt.

“We have built up a large profile with frontline workers, community nurses and charities and created a pathway that enables us to reach the most vulnerable people.”

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.