Hitting the Cold Spots: William’s story

William and his son have lived in their home on the outskirts of a small rural town in Hampshire for more than forty years. He is retired and his son is unable to work due to ill health. Since suffering a stroke eighteen months ago William has found it difficult to keep on top of things at home and increasingly has had to rely on his son to manage the household affairs.

The house has an old central heating system which until recently was powered by a solid fuel stove with a back boiler. The stove itself had rusted through and was no longer safe to use, and chopping firewood and carrying heavy sacks of coal was becoming problematic for them. With no heating, the house got very cold in the winter:

 “We once noted the temperature in the living room was 5˚C and it felt even colder up the stairs!”

Realising they needed some help, they approached their local authority for advice, and were then put in touch with Hitting the Cold Spots. When our advisor went out to visit they told her that what they ideally wanted was a gas boiler to replace the solid fuel stove.

“Hitting the Cold Spots listened to what we wanted and didn’t just tell us what we had to have. They are aware of people’s different needs.”

A bit of background research showed that a mains gas pipeline was located in the road outside William’s home, and a successful application to the ‘Help to Heat’ scheme meant they could have their home connected to the mains gas free of charge.

“Having the advisor as the coordinator was helpful to keep things moving. We wouldn’t have known where to start, especially with the gas connection. We didn’t know we could get the connection for free.”

William’s son approached local Buy With Confidence heating engineers for advice and quotes. After talking through various options they selected a contractor who could install the system they wanted. Hitting the Cold Spots awarded a grant towards the work, and they were able to pay the remainder of the cost from their limited savings.

With their new boiler installed they now have an efficiently functioning central heating and hot water system, which they can easily control with their timer and thermostat.

“Without the financial help from Hitting the Cold Spots we could never have had it done. We would have faced cold winters for the foreseeable future.

The heating engineers were really good, they answered all our questions and concerns and we can’t fault them. They did a very thorough job. It was disruptive for a few days, but I think when next winter comes we’ll know it was worth it.”

If you or someone you know is in a similar situation, please call the Hitting the Cold Spots team on Freephone 0800 804 8601 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) or email staywarm@environmentcentre.com to speak to an advisor.