Heat Helpline launched in Liverpool
0800 33 66 99
THIS week the ERA (Energy Retail Association) launches a Home Heat
Helpline which will provide invaluable advice and real help to the
estimated 180,000 people in the North West likely to suffer
unnecessarily from the widely-predicted cold weather this winter.
For the first time, the helpline gives all energy customers who have
difficulties with heating their home or paying for their gas and
electricity, one free number to call, no matter who their supplier
The Home Heat helpline has been set up because as many as 75% of
vulnerable customers are not aware of the help available to them.
Experienced advisors will be able to do everything from check
exactly what financial help is available to arranging loft
In fact our research has found that these vulnerable customers could
be missing out on benefits worth as much as £1,200.
Nicola Bowles from the ERA and Councillor Alan Dean, Mayor of
Liverpool marked the North West launch in Liverpool's St John's
She said:- "Fuel poverty is an issue we take very seriously
and tackling the causes of fuel poverty is a top priority for us,
particularly as many of the most vulnerable customers are still
unclear about what help is available to them. The Home Heat Helpline
set up by the industry is the first helpline dedicated to tackling
fuel poverty and to offer a comprehensive, one-stop shop service
giving help on the range of problems faced by fuel poor households.
I am pleased to be in Liverpool promoting the new Helpline that will
provide expert and immediate advice to all those who need it."
Liverpool Mayor, Councillor Alan Dean added:- "The winter
launch of the Home Heat Helpline is a very timely one as cold
weather conditions are set to reach an all time low. This helpline
will provide an invaluable service for people in the North West who
may find it hard to keep their homes warm or pay their gas and
electricity bills. So I'm urging the elderly and any single parent
families to take advantage of this helpline if they are having any
problems keeping their homes warm this winter because it is so
important to keep homes heated to 18 -21 0 C to avoid cold related
illnesses and to stay well during the winter months."
Steve Harding from Gingerbread North West said:- "There are
1,000's of loan parent families in the North West who need support
and help with providing sufficiently for their families.
We warmly welcome the launch of the Home Heat Helpline initiative
which will help assist lone parents to do just that. The free Home
Heat Helpline offers specialist advisors who will be of enormous
benefit to many lone parents and will go a long way to ease the
worries of the most vulnerable this winter and in the year ahead."
The Helpline will be able to assist vulnerable people in a number of
Identify grants available to make homes more energy efficient
Arrange alternative payment methods to suit the caller circumstance
Access a priority service team of specialist advisers
Provide links to other support agencies
For more information about Home Heat Helpline please visit:
Every lesson counts!
A CRACKDOWN on parents who take
children out of school to go Christmas shopping is taking place in
Liverpool. The city council's Truancy Watch team and
Merseyside Police are working with neighbouring authority's to catch
youngsters who are skipping school with the full consent of parents.
Principal Education Officer, Ron
Collinson, said:- "We are keen to get a key message over in
the pre-Christmas period when we know parents might otherwise be
tempted to take their children out of school shopping. This
year we are also working closely with Sefton, Knowsley and Wirral
Council's to deliver joint sweeps in Liverpool city centre, because
we know that pupils from those areas often come here at times when
they should be in school."
A base has been set up at St Johns
Shopping Centre, and management at the centre are working closely
with truancy officers in the planning and delivery of sweeps.
Liverpool City Council's executive
member for children's services, Councillor Paul Clein, said:-
"Attendance levels are improving in Liverpool, but we still have too
many youngsters absent from school without permission. Parents
need to realise that any absence disrupts a child's learning and
lots of absences seriously affect a child's attainments and
ultimately their life opportunities."
Children stopped by the Truancy Watch
team have their details checked and they are returned to school or
Len Griffiths from St Johns Shopping
Centre said:- "We co-operate fully with the police and
Liverpool City Council to make the city centre a safer and more
appealing place for people to visit and shop. Reducing the
number of truants certainly helps us achieve this, as well as
ensuring that the children themselves will receive a decent
The Truancy Watch initiative was set
up by Liverpool City Council's education service in 2002 as one of
the first dedicated truancy sweep teams in the country.
The team carry out truancy sweeps
across Liverpool on each working day of the year and has been hailed
as a national model of best practice.
During the 2004/5 academic year,
almost 1,700 children were stopped during truancy sweeps across
A wide range of initiatives are in
place to maintain high rates of attendance in Liverpool. They
include: radio and poster campaigns, whole school attendance
monitoring programmes and confidential telephone lines for members
of the public to report pupils who are out of school.
Liverpool is leading a pioneering
government scheme to crack down on parents of truants who do not
respond to warnings by issuing penalty notices and fines of up to
£100. 262 were issued in the 2004/5 academic year, and a further 51
have been served since September. 150 letters are also about to be
issued warning parents they could face a penalty notice unless the
attendance of their child improves.