Two years ago, we carried out a study to assess the condition of the housing stock in the district. This report found that the district has double the national average for the number of homes experiencing excess cold, across the rented and private sectors. At that point we knew it was important to put something in place to help tackle this serious issue and help improve the lives of residents experiencing these problems.

As a result of this report, we decided to invest £327,000 over the following five years and launched the Chichester Warm Homes Initiative. The scheme is for residents on low incomes, and pays for them to have an efficient heating system, loft and wall insulation installed in their home.

So far, the scheme has really made a difference to those who have taken it up, but we want to ensure that people know that this funding is available so that we can help even more of our residents.

Having a cold home can have a detrimental effect on your health. In the winter it can exacerbate existing health problems such as respiratory and circulatory conditions and cardio vascular disease. A cold home can also have a serious impact on a person's mental health, and research has shown that this affects young people in particular.

As well as the Chichester Warm Homes Initiative, there is also a wealth of other help available to support people who are finding it difficult to heat their homes. Our Home Energy Advisers run the Wellbeing Home service and work with various organisations to identify people on low incomes who may benefit from their expertise.

When they receive a referral, either from an organisation or directly from a resident, they may carry out a free home visit. Their aim is to help people make their home more comfortable, energy efficient, and save them money. The service is for people whose home may be cold and damp, or those who are suffering from health problems or worried about their heating bills. The service is available to both home owners and people in private rented accommodation.

The team can offer free energy saving devices, practical advice and information about keeping warm and healthy.  They can provide information about getting the best energy deal, government discounts such as the Warm Homes Discount, and refer people to local and national insulation and heating grants.

No one should have to live in a cold home and so we are asking for your help in identifying those who may need this vital support. If you need help, or you know someone who does, please  get in touch

Thank you for your help.

Cllr Tony Dignum, Leader of Chichester District Council