Hitting the Cold Spots: Martin’s Story

About the client

Martin retired in his early forties to care for his wife when she became ill, and dedicated nearly twenty years to looking after her until she sadly passed away. Getting by on benefits for all that time meant that Martin reached retirement age with a low pension and little in the way of savings.

Some years later, Martin developed his own health conditions and at the end of 2018 ended up with a lengthy stay in hospital.

What did Martin need help with?

Whilst Martin was in hospital, family members kindly tended to his home. Although Martin had managed well over the years to look after the home with his limited means, there were some bits of maintenance that he just hadn’t been able to keep up with. Of most concern, his family thought they could smell gas inside the home. They contacted a Gas Safe engineer who discovered that gas was leaking from the central heating boiler. The boiler was long past its best, and there was no choice but for it to be condemned.

This meant that when Martin was finally discharged from hospital, he returned to a cold home in the middle of winter. His family had set up a few portable electric heaters for him so he could keep at least one room warm at a time, but what Martin really needed for his recuperation was all round warmth and comfort.

Fortunately, Martin’s Occupational Therapist was aware of Hitting the Cold Spots and suggested he give us a call to find out if we could help. After taking his details, we allocated an advisor and a home visit was arranged.

How we were able to help Martin

Martin was eligible for a grant from Hitting the Cold Spots, so we set about finding quotes from local Buy With Confidence registered heating engineers. We hit an obstacle when the engineers discovered that the flue for the existing boiler was made from asbestos. The next step then was to call in local asbestos specialists to give us a price for safely disposing of the old flue.

Once all the prices were received, Martin selected which firms he wanted to carry out the work. Funding was agreed, and our advisor liaised with the heating engineers and asbestos specialists to coordinate the removal of the old flue and the installation of the new boiler. The work went ahead smoothly and Martin could finally enjoy a centrally heated home.

Whilst working with Martin, our advisor helped him to sign up to his energy supplier’s Priority Service Register, introduced him to an industrial benevolent charity that he may be able to seek help from with other home maintenance needs, and also talked to him about applying for Attendance Allowance.

When asked to describe the Hitting the Cold Spots service, Martin said,

Quick, efficient, friendly, well informed, sympathetic, courteous, very helpful. What more can I say?

Savings and outcomes

  • Switching to a modern condensing boiler could save Martin hundreds of pounds on his heating bills each year
  • Being on the priority services register means Martin knows he will get extra assistance in the event of a power cut or other emergency
  • Applying for Attendance Allowance could increase Martin’s weekly income by up to £85.60
  • Martin knows there is another charity he can turn to in the future if he needs help for his home
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