Thousands of people across Cornwall will be lifted out of fuel poverty and live in warmer homes following an £8m funding investment over the next year.

Around 36,000 homes in Cornwall are in fuel poverty, with the county in the top ten of fuel poor areas in England. The Winter Wellbeing Partnership, led by Cornwall Council and including 30 partners, has secured over £3.5m from National Grid’s Warm Homes Fund to work with thousands of people to stay warmer for less and be lifted out of fuel poverty.

The new fund, Warm and Well Cornwall, targets residents who are in poor health or at risk of ill health, or with underlying health issues, or caring for a vulnerable person or worried about their home being cold or damp. It will help 220 private homes, including owners, landlords or tenants, and up to 800 social housing homes with first time central heating, such as renewable heating, mains gas, oil, or LPG, with many more to follow in future years.

Social housing partners Ocean, Coastline, Cornwall Housing, Guinness and DCH are investing around £2.5m to improve heating for their tenants with renewable heating and gas central heating.

Funding has also been secured from SSE Energy Solutions, Cornwall Council’s Energy Efficiency partner. SSE has ring-fenced Energy Company Obligation (ECO) eligible measures targeted at fuel poor and vulnerable households in Cornwall and is a key partner to delivering Warm and Well Cornwall.

By January 2019 the programme is expected to have helped more than 1,000 homes out of fuel poverty.

Private landlords with tenants can also apply for funding to upgrade their properties. From April, private landlords cannot re-let existing rented properties rated EPC F or G, unless they have registered a valid exemption and from 2020 landlords won’t be able to let any (non-exempt) properties if they are rated F or G.

Sarah Newton, MP for Falmouth and Truro, said: “I am delighted to have helped secure this new funding to tackle a long standing problem in Cornwall. Having been a part of the Winter Wellness partnership for some time, I have seen first-hand how effective this partnership of public sector organisations, businesses, charities and communities groups is in delivering positive change for people living on low incomes in Cornwall.

"Living in a warm home is a matter of social justice and this new programme and investment will help more local people.”

Cornwall Council deputy leader Julian German, added: “Cornwall Council’s 2017 resident survey found that 15 per cent of people said finding the money to pay for utility bills was a very big or fairly big problem. Fuel poverty is a significant issue for many people in Cornwall - this programme will go a long way to helping these households stay warm and well.

“Part of this funding is also because of our devolution work. New ways of delivering insulation improvements to Cornish homes agreed with the Government means we have more control over the decisions on which homes can receive this support. This will make a real difference to the lives of hundreds of people currently living in cold and damp homes.”