AROUND 200 households in Dunfermline could be made warmer this winter.

Following a successful pilot, the Health Homes Dunfermline project is aiming to help older people, those leaving hospital and people with a long-term illness or disability who might not otherwise access energy advice.

The City of Dunfermline area committee will consider a request for £30,000 of funding from the area anti-poverty budget at its meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) to help with its efforts.

Project manager Bruce McCall said their aim was to help local residents stay warm, healthy and save them energy and money.

In the funding application, he explained: "The links between cold homes, fuel poverty and poor health are well-documented. People with health issues are more vulnerable to fuel poverty because they incur higher energy costs, for instance, to keep their home warmer, to heat their home for longer periods, for additional hot water, or for electrical equipment as part of their care.

"Fuel poverty can exacerbate existing health conditions, such as cardiovascular and respiratory problems, due to under-heated homes. The current energy price crisis has intensified the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on households further.

"It is expected that people living with health conditions, already at risk, will be disproportionately negatively affected by the current and predicted changes in the energy market."

Mr McCall said the scheme would focus on households struggling to heat their homes affordably, improve their thermal comfort and help to prevent them going into fuel poverty by developing energy action plans.

"This will include a mix of budgeting and fuel debt advice, energy-saving habits and identifying simple energy-efficiency improvements for the property," he said.

"We will also support households by installing energy-efficient measures like thermal curtains and LED bulbs to those who qualify for our means-tested ‘handy’ service, provide crisis support through top-ups, and refer participants to partner agencies for additional support including benefit checks, income maximisation and grants."

Working with a range of partners, talks and training will be delivered to groups, key workers, including to hospital, sheltered homes, flu clinics, local pharmacists and carer centres on the support the project can provide.

"Through these, we will create a network of trained frontline healthcare and support workers who will recognise signs of fuel poverty and refer those in need for help into the project," Mr McCall continued. "We will also run a social media campaign throughout the duration of the project, advertising our support services and providing an additional way for households to contact us directly.

"Effective inter-agency working is crucial to the success of this local project and, in our view, has to be based on a ‘spend to save’ approach. The project will focus on fuel poverty prevention, ensuring the long-term stability of the resident in their home and improving the fabric of the building and, where necessary, will offer crisis support, to ensure the shorter-term relief of the household."