National award for Northumberland community heating project

From left, Hayley Grocock, from British Gas, Maria Wardrobe, from NEA, Christine Nicholls, Adrian Hinchcliffe and Andy Dean, all from CAN.

From left, Hayley Grocock, from British Gas, Maria Wardrobe, from NEA, Christine Nicholls, Adrian Hinchcliffe and Andy Dean, all from CAN.

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Community Action Northumberland (CAN) and project partners are celebrating after their project to keep vulnerable residents warm scooped a national award.

The Community Action Awards, which are run by national fuel poverty charity NEA in partnership with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and British Gas, recognise excellence and innovation in tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency among vulnerable households.

CAN’s award of £1,500 will help them to support vulnerable and fuel-poor people living across rural Northumberland in hard-to-reach and off-gas areas by creating Warm Hubs; places within the local community where vulnerable people can be assured of finding a safe, warm and friendly environment in which to enjoy a healthy, good-value meal, company and social activity as well as access to information, advice and referrals to help them heat their homes affordably.

Christine Nicholls, from CAN, said: "Warm Hubs epitomises partnership working and we wouldn't have a Warm Hubs Scheme if it wasn't for the hard work of volunteers. We are absolutely thrilled to receive this award, it means so much to us that our work in fuel poverty and energy across Northumberland has been recognised and as a result of winning this award, we will develop a Warm Hub model which can then be shared with the rest of the country."

Maria Wardrobe, director of external affairs at NEA, said: "Nearly 16,000 households in Northumberland are experiencing the impacts of fuel poverty. Community groups working in partnership are vital to helping them and I’m delighted that Community Action Northumberland has won a Community Action Award for its work. I would like to thank DECC and British Gas for supporting the initiative."

The next phase of the Community Action Awards is now open for entries. If you are a community group, charity, or third-sector organisation and are running a project helping to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency among vulnerable households, visit http://www.nea.org.uk/campaigns-events/community-action-awards or contact Nina Dunlavy by emailing nina.dunlavy@nea.org.uk