Southampton Healthy Homes: Barbara’s Story

Barbara was given our details by her local nurse to see how we could help. The only heating in her property was a storage heater in the living room and an electric convector heater in the hallway and she had to rely on other electric plug-in heaters to keep warm. Barbara lives with and cares for her friend who is bed ridden and has dementia, and they are both pensioners.

During the winter months they end up spending over £200 per month on their electricity to ensure there is enough heating in the property. They were concerned going forward whether the heaters would provide adequate heating and also over the cost of their electric bills.

A home visit was booked in with a Southampton Healthy Homes Advisor and an Energy Assessor. During the visit Barbara explained how she felt it would be beneficial to have a storage heater in their dining room which they use a lot and in the main bedroom, as these rooms did not have any fixed heating. The grant application form was filled in at the visit to see if a grant could be provided to help with this additional heating.

A grant was then awarded from Southampton Healthy Homes towards the cost of putting in these two necessary storage heaters, and the work was completed by a local Buy with Confidence contractor. Barbara was very pleased with this as these heaters mean she doesn’t need to worry about the weather getting cooler as there are now two additional heaters in the property, to ensure her friend is kept warm during the winter.

“First class service, from first interview to job completion.”

Through the Southampton Healthy Homes partnership, we were also able to arrange a home visit with Citizens Advice Southampton, to ensure they are receiving all of the financial support they are entitled to.

If you or someone you know is struggling to keep warm and well, please call the Environment Centre (tEC) on Freephone 0800 804 8601 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) or email to speak to an advisor.

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Hitting the Cold Spots: Chris’ Story

Chris lives in the family home which he inherited some years ago. Due to a health condition and low income, he had been unable to keep on top of essential repairs and maintenance over the years, and the heating in particular was in great need of an overhaul.

Chris received a letter about the Central Heating Fund and called us to arrange an assessment. One of our advisors visited him to complete an application form and to carry out an energy assessment. This showed that Chris would be eligible for a grant, which meant that his aging storage heaters could be replaced with an efficient gas central heating system.

A local Buy with Confidence contractor was selected and the funding was agreed. Within weeks, a brand new boiler, radiators and heating controls were installed. We visited Chris again to see how his home energy rating had been improved.

Chris said,

“This scheme has given me a massive boost and lift. It seemed for ages that nothing was going right for me, and I was unaware such schemes existed until you wrote to me.

You’ve given me something I could never have afforded otherwise, and you’ve improved my life no end for the winter. It’s done an awful lot for me. It’s been fantastic”

Installing gas central heating into Chris’ home improved the energy rating from an E to a high D; exceeding the average rating for homes in the UK. The change in heating system is also expected to save Chris around £374 per year on his heating bills, and now he can look forward to a warm and healthy home in the coming winters.

We are currently looking for further qualifying properties and households, so please contact the Environment Centre (tEC) for more information or to check eligibility, on Freephone 0800 804 8601 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) or email Deadline for applications: Friday 14th October 2016.

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Southampton Healthy Homes: Marie’s Story

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Marie found our details from the Energy Saving Advice Service as the back boiler in her home was old, not working well and not providing hot water. Marie was very concerned about the lack of heat in the home as this has a negative impact on her health. During the initial phone call we were able to identify two potential grants to help with replacing the boiler. A home visit was then arranged so two of our Southampton Healthy Homes advisors visited and filled in the grant application form with her.

A grant was then awarded from Southampton Healthy Homes, as well as a grant from Green Deal Communities, along with a client contribution from Marie. This meant that Marie could have the much needed, new, efficient boiler installed to provide the heat and hot water required with her health conditions.

Another of Marie’s concerns was the lack of loft and cavity wall insulation in the home so we gave her the number for an energy company providing a grant for the insulation. A visit soon followed and the home was then fully insulated, free of charge.

The new efficient boiler and the loft and cavity wall insulation has now meant the energy rating of the home has gone up from an E52 rating to a C74 rating, which could give an average annual saving on her energy bills of £521, based on the Energy Performance Certificate.

During the initial home visit a referral was also made to the Blue Lamp Trust as Marie had some security concerns in the property. A fitter from their scheme then visited and fitted new locks on the doors and smoke alarms for added peace of mind.

“The installation of loft and cavity wall insulation is crucial for me as keeping warm is a key part of the pain management of my health conditions. Most amazingly tEC organised both a government grant and an additional grant to replace my old boiler. Without their fantastic help and support I could never have afforded other crucial health changes in my home. I’m so grateful for their support.”

If you or someone you know is in a similar situation, please call the Environment Centre (tEC) on Freephone 0800 804 8601 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) or email to speak to an advisor.

Hitting the Cold Spots: Lisa’s Story

tEC image_new boiler_HTCSLisa called us after receiving a letter saying she may be eligible for help to improve the heating in her home. We arranged for one of our advisors to visit Lisa and complete an energy assessment.

The gas had been disconnected from the home some years ago, and the only heating was from electric heaters using on–peak electricity; a very expensive means of heating. The energy assessment showed that it would cost £2,907 per year for Lisa to keep the home sufficiently warm for herself and her children. Unable to afford this, the family had been struggling to keep warm throughout the winters, only using their heaters when absolutely necessary.

A grant was awarded from the Central Heating Fund and a contractor was chosen to install a brand new efficient gas boiler and radiators. Lisa also contacted her electricity supplier and arranged for them to install a new gas meter, free of charge.

Lisa and her family are already enjoying the benefits of instant hot water from their new combi boiler, and are looking forward to the weather turning cold so they test out their new heating system!

Lisa said,

“I truly believe you have kept us from illnesses in the coming winter. There will be no more duvets on the sofa when watching TV.

Everyone has been very professional and kept us informed of what’s going on. The installers were brilliant and did a really good job.”

The energy assessments before and after showed that the home improved from a G18 rating – almost at the bottom of the scale – to a D59 rating, bringing it in line with the average UK household, and reduced her yearly energy costs by £1,667. Lisa now plans to have loft and cavity wall insulation installed as well, which will improve her energy rating even further, and help her family to keep warm for less money.

If you or someone you know is in a similar situation, please call the Environment Centre (tEC) on Freephone 0800 804 8601 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) or email to speak to an advisor.

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Southampton Healthy Homes: Patrick’s Story

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Patrick was referred for Southampton Healthy Homes help by Citizens Advice Southampton, who are partners in the project. Their combi boiler was broken and had been condemned, because there was a suspected gas leak from the pipework, leaving them without heating or hot water. Patrick lives with his wife and two sons, and had just been made redundant so had no income. Patrick’s wife receives disability benefits due to a visual impairment and back problems. They weren’t eligible for help from the national energy supplier scheme and were unable to afford the boiler repairs themselves.

Patrick had already got a quote for repairing the boiler and replacing pipework to see how much it would be, but with such a limited income they didn’t know how they would cover the cost. The Southampton Healthy Homes advisors went to visit the same week, and were able to approve a grant to fund the full amount, so the work was booked in and the boiler fixed within two weeks. The advisors were also able to find a small grant for Patrick to cover the cost of extra electricity usage while the boiler was broken.

“If we hadn’t got help we would still be without hot water, and with four people in the house and being ill that was difficult. The advisors we saw were very helpful and gave us information on other help that we could get. Even the people who came to fix the boiler were very good.”

If you or someone you know is in a similar situation, please call the Environment Centre (tEC) on Freephone 0800 804 8601 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) or email to speak to an advisor.

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Hitting the Cold Spots: Margaret’s Story

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It was during a particularly cold spell in March when Margaret’s boiler broke down, leaving her with no heating or hot water at a crucial time of year. Margaret contacted her local council who put her in touch with us.

We talked through Margaret’s situation with her on the phone and she told us how difficult she was finding it to cope without hot water, having to carry hot kettles up the stairs to wash, and how the cold was exacerbating her health condition. A visit was arranged with a Hitting the Cold Spots advisor.

Our advisor provided Margaret with an electric heater to take the chill out of her home and went through the different options with her. Margaret explained that her main concern was getting a new boiler, but that living on her state pension meant she could not afford to do this herself. Our advisor supported her to complete an application form for a grant, helped her to gather all the evidence she needed to support her application, and arranged for local heating companies to provide quotes for the work.

To her delight, Margaret’s application was successful and the grant body agreed to fund the complete cost of a new boiler. The new boiler was installed, and heating and hot water was restored in Margaret’s home.

Our advisor was also concerned that Margaret had been receiving estimated bills from her energy company which meant that she had been paying them too much every month. A call was made to the energy company and they booked an appointment to install ‘smart meters’ in Margaret’s home. With the smart meters now in place, Margaret can see exactly how much she is spending on her gas and electricity, and no longer has to worry about sending meter readings to her company.

“I am over the moon to get this all sorted after so long without heating and hot water. I don’t know where I would have been otherwise. It was like living back in the 1950’s! I am really grateful to Hitting the Cold Spots for their help.” 

If you or someone you know is in a similar situation, please call the Environment Centre (tEC) on Freephone 0800 804 8601 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) or email to speak to an advisor.

Hampshire Residents Helped with First-time Central Heating

Through Hitting the Cold Spots, Hampshire County Council and the Environment Centre (tEC) have been helping eligible households with the cost of installing first-time central heating. Read Brian and Jane’s stories below, to find out what a difference this has made to their lives.


Brian’s Story

Brian had a brand new central heating system and shower installed with help from Hitting the Cold Spots.

A friend contacted us on Brian’s behalf when he became aware that Brian had been having to cope without any heating or hot water ever since his gas fire had failed and his gas supply had to be cut off for safety reasons. Living on a tight budget, Brian was unable to pay for the necessary repairs himself.

An advisor from the Environment Centre visited Brian and helped him to apply for a grant from the Central Heating Fund. They also approached another local charity which kindly offered additional help with the cost of the work that was needed, meaning that Brian didn’t need to worry about paying a contribution himself.

Brian had his gas supply reconnected and central heating was installed in his home, including a boiler, radiators and a new shower with instant hot water.

Brian said:

“This has been a life changing experience for me. Before I had this help I was using a camping stove for my cooking and my only hot water came from boiling a kettle. Now I have a fully working, modern central heating system and hot water on demand.”


Jane’s Story

Jane from Gosport had help from Hitting the Cold Spots to install a brand new boiler and radiators in her home.

Recently widowed and suffering from several health difficulties, Jane was becoming increasingly concerned about spending another winter in her home with no central heating. She approached her local council who put her in touch with us at the Environment Centre.

After visiting Jane in her home to complete an assessment and find out more about her needs, we could confirm that she was eligible for a Central Heating Fund grant. In Jane’s case, we were also able to join forces with other grant-giving organisations so that the heating was installed without costing Jane a single penny.

We helped Jane through the whole process; accompanying her when visits from heating engineers took place, discussing all the options with her, liaising with the engineers on her behalf, and finally helping her to learn how to use the controls for her new heating.

Jane is now looking forward to a warm and cosy winter, and is even starting to plan other improvements she wants to make to her home.

“I’m thinking to myself how nice and warm I will be next winter. There have been some years when it has been so cold in my house I have had to sleep downstairs where my gas fire is. I don’t have to worry about that now because I will have warmth everywhere.

I would say to other people, in order to achieve the end you will have to expect some upheaval and dust, but it is worth it! My heating engineer was very polite and worked hard to accommodate all my needs.

I really do appreciate all the help I have received through this scheme; I could never have done this by myself.”


For more information: and to check your eligibility please call the Environment Centre (tEC) on Freephone 0800 804 8601 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) or email Deadline for applications: Friday 15th July 2016


Hitting the Cold Spots_helping you stay warm HCC logo

First-time Central Heating Funding

Through a partnership between Hampshire County Council, Southampton City Council, Portsmouth City Council and the Environment Centre (tEC), we have received significant funding from Central Government to help with the cost of installing gas or LPG central heating systems into homes which do not currently have any form of central heating.

To qualify for assistance under this scheme you need to:

  • own your own home, or rent from a private landlord,
  • have no central heating system in the property (central heating includes radiators fed from a back boiler and underfloor heating),
  • live in a property with an EPC rating of E, F or G, and
  • be on a low income*.

We are currently looking for eligible properties and households in Hampshire and Southampton, so please call the  Environment Centre (tEC) if you want more information or to check your eligibility, on Freephone 0800 804 8601 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm).

*Terms and conditions apply.

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Southampton Healthy Homes

Press Release: Southampton secures £500k to help residents stay warm this winter.

The Environment Centre (tEC) in partnership with Southampton City Council have been awarded £500K funding through the British Gas Energy Trust Healthy Homes Programme to help vulnerable residents across the city who are struggling to keep warm and well in their homes.

This exciting project was launched on Friday 11th December 2015 at a well-attended event in the Civic Centre, with presentations given by Councillor Lewzey, Councillor Payne and Councillor Shields.

SHH launch event 11Dec15 Cllr Shields, Cabinet Member for Health & Adult Social Care says “The ambition of the Southampton Healthy Homes project is to address the avoidable health consequences that arise from fuel poverty and to eradicate excess winter mortality in the city. It is everyone’s responsibility to help prevent excess winter deaths and I encourage anyone who is concerned about the risks of cold weather, either to their own wellbeing or a friend, relative or neighbour, to get in touch for advice and guidance.”

Southampton has a particular problem with a cold, damp and draughty homes which are expensive to heat and which can cause the people who live in them to become ill. Severe or prolonged exposure to cold can even lead to premature death and can make many health conditions such as arthritis, breathing problems and rheumatism much worse.

Adam Goulden Chief Executive at the Environment Centre says “Recent figures suggest that over 10,000 households in the city are unable to heat their homes to an adequate level so this new service is a great opportunity to help Southampton Residents through impartial advice on improving the energy efficiency of their homes, changing energy suppliers or switching tariffs or providing access to funding to help those most in need”

Physical home improvements available to residents with specific health conditions includes Solid Wall Insulation, cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, draft proofing and other energy efficiency measures*. tEC’s friendly and experienced advisors are able to attend a limited number of home visits to provide bespoke advice to vulnerable residents but their Freephone advice line is available to anyone who wants information of keeping warm and well this winter.

Anyone interested in finding out more or would like to refer a family member, neighbour or client can reach the Southampton Healthy Homes team on 0800 804 8601(free from all major phone providers) or 023 8033 6172, or email

*Terms and conditions apply. Funding available to privately owned or privately rented properties only.


Information for editors:

The Southampton Healthy Homes project is funded by the British Gas Energy Trust.  Project Partners include the Environment Centre (tEC), Southampton City Council, Southampton City CCG, Solent NHS Trust, Citizens Advice Southampton, SCRATCH, SCM Basics Bank, the Alder Trust and the University of Southampton. For more information please contact Helen Farley on 023 8033 6172.

The service is available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Closed during bank holidays. The project is available until 31st March 2017.SHH logo for website v2

Southampton Warmth For All


We are delighted to announce the launch of our Southampton Warmth For All (SWFA) project. Building on the success of our previous energy efficiency projects in the Southampton area, SWFA will be helping residents address cold, damp and high energy costs in their homes.

With funding from the Scottish Power Energy People Trust, the project will be running over the coming year, helping hundreds of people in Southampton to reduce their electricity and heating bills, and make their homes warmer and more comfortable.

The new project will focus on preventing and mitigating the effects of fuel poverty and energy debt, in particular among those moving into new accommodation or living independently for the first time, or those who need extra support due to illness, disability or families with young children.

The free and confidential service can help with:

  • Home energy efficiency,
  • Draught-proofing (and the materials to do it),
  • Switching energy tariff or supplier,
  • Dealing with fuel debt,
  • Reducing energy usage at home,
  • Setting heating and hot water controls,
  • Condensation and mould,
  • Applying for Warm Home Discount.

The service will be delivered through a number of channels including: 20131123_2013_11_23  Triangle Hardware _7727

  • Workshops and drop-in sessions in community locations around Southampton*
  • Home visits with one of our Energy Advisors*
  • Advice surgeries at the Environment Centre office*

*These services may be subject to availability and eligibility criteria.

Please see our SWFA project page for the latest updates on when and where our drop-in sessions will be running.

To find out more about the support we offer please call Freephone 0800 804 8601
(Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) or email