Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Hackney Council provides winter support for vulnerable residents

Hackney Council’s SHINE (Seasonal Health Interventions Network) is a referral system designed to tackle fuel poverty, and reduce seasonal deaths and hospital admissions in the borough.

The Council is offering debt assistance, energy advice and other much needed support for vulnerable residents during the cold winter months in the SHINE one-stop shop. Vulnerable residents can be provided with a range of different services that also includes a low cost handy person and a befriending scheme.

Fuel poverty is very real and it is affecting people in Hackney who have to make a choice between eating and heating. We want to do what we can to help residents who find themselves in debt, in need of energy efficiency advice or help with repairs in their home. Just one phone call to Hackney Council’s SHINE scheme can make a real difference to those people who most need it during the cold winter months.”  - Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, Hackney Council

SHINE is available to any vulnerable residents of Hackney, although the scheme is particularly targeted at the following groups:
  • those aged over 75;
  • those with respiratory disease;
  • those with cardiovascular disease; and
  • low income families with children under 5.

Just one phone call to the freephone advice line or a fax or e-mail can help residents in real need of support. You can contact Hackney SHINE using the following details:

Tel: 0800 281 768
Fax: 020 7527 2332

An example of SHINE at work is given by Mr Peter Smith, aged 62, who was born and grew up in Hackney. He has lived with his older brother Tom in their Dalston home for 35 years. Peter is a full time carer for his brother who has cancer and other health problems including, poor mobility.

Mr Smith was paying a regular amount towards his gas bill each month, but got into arrears after last year’s long and cold winter. He contacted Hackney SHINE after receiving his winter bill gas bill, with an outstanding balance of £400 which he was struggling to pay. Hackney SHINE advised Mr Smith on minimising his costs and being more energy efficient.

As a result of Mr Smith's personal circumstances, a successful application was made to the British Gas Trust Fund, a fund to help those who have got into fuel debt. Mr Smith received £450 plus support.

Mr Smith said: “The gas bill was crippling me and every month it kept shooting up. We couldn’t not have our heating on because of my brother's illness. I just wanted something to help me out of debt and Hackney SHINE made it all so easy, it’s defiantly worth contacting them. The price of a phone call saved me £400 and meant we could heat our house without worrying.

Hackney SHINE offers:
  • Advice on energy bills, keeping warm and dry in the home and home energy assessments;
  • Telecare and Community Alarm Service - helping maintain safety and independence in the home;
  • Falls assessments;
  • Handy person service - low cost repairs in the home;
  • Advice and assistance with gas, electricity and water debt;
  • Help and support with other debts and financial problems;
  • Vulnerable utility customer register - help in the event of power, gas or water cuts;
  • London Taxicard - heavily subsidised taxi journeys for those with severe mobility or visual impairments;
  • Befriending - various services including home visiting and escorting service for housebound and isolated older people; and
  • Free eye tests - for housebound people.

So, if you are or someone you know is a vulnerable resident of Hackney in need of assistance over the winter and could be helped by Hackney SHINE, please call, fax or e-mail.

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