A scheme to install central heating for free into fuel poor and vulnerable homes has launched in Birmingham with the support of Birmingham City Council.

Connected for Warmth aims are to reduce bills, increase comfort in non-gas households, and improve health outcomes for residents in Birmingham.

The scheme can’t come at a better time as it’s estimated that there are more than 8,000 homes in Birmingham without central heating with occupiers unable to heat their home to the temperature needed to stay healthy and warm.

The scheme, which is available until 2021, won’t just be making things more comfortable for residents. The programme will also be working alongside a number of other key initiatives all aimed at addressing fuel poverty and energy efficiency.

Cllr Sharon Thompson, cabinet member for homes and neighbourhoods at Birmingham City Council said, “Heating is a basic human need that you just don’t expect people in Birmingham to be without. However, that’s the stark reality that thousands of families across our city are facing and it’s our most vulnerable citizens who are being affected. We’re hoping that through Connected for Warmth, as many Birmingham residents as possible can take advantage of this fantastic free service and help to get them out of fuel poverty.”

Jeremy Nesbitt, managing director of Affordable Warmth Solutions said: “This new scheme will provide a fresh avenue out of fuel poverty for those struggling with the cost of heating their homes. As the temperature drops and we enter what’s projected to be a very cold winter the need for this kind of scheme has never been stronger. Connected for Warmth will be a valuable tool in the fight to ensure no one has to face the heart-breaking choice between heating and eating.”

Connected for Warmth is funded by the Warm Homes Fund, a £150 million national fund provided by National Grid and administered by Affordable Warmth Solutions. Cadent Gas are also contributing to the cost of the heating systems.

The scheme is run locally by AgilityEco in partnership with Birmingham City Council, installers and housing associations across the Cadent Gas area. It’s free for households and can also provide a free connection to the gas main if required, ensuring that those in need can benefit from affordable heat and hot water.

Cllr Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for transport and environment and chair of the Birmingham climate taskforce said, “We need to do all we can to ensure that in 2020, all of our residents stay healthy and warm while being energy efficient. If as a city, we are to become carbon neutral by 2030, we need to find a way to support those in fuel poverty while also managing our carbon footprint. I’m delighted that there’s schemes like LEAP, ECHO and HEART that can help people in Birmingham achieve this.”

To apply for the Connected for Warmth scheme, please call (free) on 0800 029 4547 or visit: https://www.connectedforwarmth.org.uk/apply