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Issue Date:- 10 November 2008

Help to keep residents warm

UP TO 30,000 people in Liverpool could receive grants worth thousands of pounds to keep their homes warm.  The city council has teamed up with the government-funded Warm Front Team to write to people on benefits inviting them to apply for a grant of up to £2,700.

Those on qualifying benefits who own their own homes, or rent a private property, could be entitled to a grant towards energy-efficient measures including loft and cavity-wall insulation, draught proofing, heating and energy-saving light bulbs.  A £300 heating rebate is also available for people over 60 towards the cost of a central heating system, or related repairs if they do not receive benefits.

Application forms inviting people to apply for the grant are dropping through letter boxes across the city. The forms also include details of who is entitled to help, and a freephone helpline provided by Warm Front.

Deputy council leader and executive member for finance, Councillor Flo Clucas, said:- “We have all been hit in the pocket by massive increases in the cost of heating recently, and this initiative helps save people money by making their homes more energy efficient.  I am pleased that we have been able to team up with the Warm Front Team to target those who we believe could benefit from this scheme.”

The project is being co-ordinated by the Benefits Service, which is run by Liverpool Direct Limited (LDL), the city council’s joint venture partnership with BT. It has identified people who it believes may be eligible, and is writing to them on behalf of the Warm Front Team.

Councillor Steve Hurst, Executive Member for Corporate Performance, which includes Liverpool Direct, added:- “It is estimated that in a typical home, half the heat that is lost escapes through the walls and the loft.  The cost to both the environment and the individual who lives in the property is immense and this scheme is a real win-win for everyone.”

People on the following benefits are eligible:-

• Working Tax Credit (with an income of less than £15,460 and a disability element)

• Child Tax Credit (with an income of less than £15,460)

• Attendance Allowance

• Disability Living Allowance

• Pension Credit

• Income Support*

• Income based Jobseekers Allowance (if you are aged 60+)

• Housing Benefit*

• Council tax benefit*

• War Disablement Premium (must include the mobility supplement or constant attendance allowance)

• Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (must include constant attendance allowance

Warm Front Director Hayley Peters said:- “This direct mail campaign will raise awareness of the fuel poverty issue among those people most affected.  The Warm Front scheme is more popular than it ever has been and current demands mean people applying now will receive their installations next year. 

In the meantime, making sure they’re claiming the benefits they’re entitled to through Benefit Entitlement Checks and making their homes more energy efficient and there’s lots of cheap and even free ways of doing this.  Lodging applications for the energy schemes they’re entitled to will go a long way to making sure houshold income in maximised and fuel bills are as low as they can be.”

Once an application has been received, the Warm Front Team will get in touch to arrange a visit to assess the improvements they may be entitled to.   Anyone who has any queries can call 0800 408 0681, quoting reference number MK939.  An application can also be made online.

Extra funds to improve safety in Liverpool

THOUSANDS of pounds of extra cash is to be spent tackling low-level crime to make Liverpool safer.  The city has been invited by the Home Office to become a Pioneer Area, securing up to £100,000 to fund a series of projects to improve life for residents and increase confidence in the criminal justice system.

The cash will be used to tackle anti social behaviour, carry out community clean ups, provide activities for youngsters and set up anti-violence initiatives.  It will build upon the city’s highly successful RESPECT weeks of action, which tackle crime and grime and provide community led activities.

Councillor Marilyn Fielding, executive member for community safety, said:- “By working closely with our partners such as Merseyside Police, we have made huge progress in recent years in reducing the levels of crime in Liverpool.  However, we recognise that there is still more to do and that some people do not feel safe in their local community despite the fact they are now less likely to be a victim of crime.

This additional funding will enable us to run more projects to improve the quality of life for local people.  Getting people more involved in what is happening in their neighbourhood will give a sense of the work going on to tackle major issues such as crime and anti social behaviour, providing them with reassurance.”

Over the last 3 years in Liverpool there has been a 20% reduction in anti social behaviour and vehicle crime, a 36% reduction in violent crime and a 13% reduction in robbery. However, in common with other areas of the country, fear of crime remains high. 

More information will be made available about what is being done to tackle crime, as well as details of community payback projects and witness support programmes.  There will also be work to encourage people to report domestic violence and hate crimes, as it is known that victims of these offences are often reluctant to inform police.  It is believed that people will have increased community confidence in the work going on to tackle crime if they are involved in decision making and activities taking place in their area.

The scheme is one of 32 recommendations made by government advisor Louise Casey in a detailed Home Office report titled “Engaging Communities in Fighting Crime”, published in June 2008.

Letters to the Editor:- "Santa Dash 2008"

"SOME of your readers may already be aware that the Liverpool Santa Dash, organised by Liverpool City Council, is taking place on Sunday 7 December 2008. It is hoped that nearly 8,000 Santas will walk or run the 5km course.

The event was previously an entry in the Guinness World Book of Records as The largest Santa gathering consisting of 3,921 participants. Places are filling up fast, so I would like to urge your readers to think about taking part and raising money for Diabetes UK.  There are 2.5 million people across the UK with diabetes and a further 500,000 who are unaware they have the condition. There are nearly 20,000 people living with diabetes in Liverpool alone. Diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to complications such as heart and kidney disease, blindness, strokes and amputations.

Entry is £15 per person and includes a Santa outfit, commemorative medal, goody bag and t-shirt. For the under 12s there is a mile-long Santa Mini Dash tickets £7.50. 

Santa's wishing to register and support Diabetes UK should contact Tara Cooney on 01925 653281 or email

By taking part in the Santa Dash for Diabetes UK, your readers can do their bit to support Diabetes UKs vital work. Diabetes UK supports people with diabetes, their families, friends and carers. We organise children's holidays and family and adult support weekends. The Diabetes UK Careline 0845 120 2960 offers callers confidential information on all aspects of diabetes, and is open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

We will also spend around £7 million next year funding research projects, which we hope will eventually lead to a cure."  Yours sincerely, Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive - Diabetes UK...

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