Affordable heating is available for those struggling to afford in Calderdale, thanks to an innovative scheme run in the area by Thompsons Gas.

  Established in 2007, Thompsons Gas has been working as part of numerous schemes to protect and improve the homes of those in the local area. After the Boxing Day floods of 2015, the team at Thompsons formed part of a government initiative working to improve homes most at risk to keep them safe from flood damage in the future. The new scheme, started by the British Gas Energy Trust, allows participants to benefit from a free boiler if they cannot afford to have a new one installed. It differs greatly from those previously seen as it does not require the funding recipient to be on any kind of state benefits. It forms part of a larger national effort to reduce fuel poverty and lower emissions across the country. Fuel poverty is officially described as when the fuel costs of a home put the income of the residents below the official poverty line. Recent government statistics put Calderdale, and the Leeds authority as a whole, as one of the five most affected areas in the country. Speaking about the new scheme, Ben Thompson, Director of Thompsons Gas, commented “it’s fantastic that these schemes are being made available to as many people as possible. A new boiler is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your fuel bills, and now you can have one even if you’re not on benefits”. “When we were working on previous boiler installation schemes, it became apparent to us that so many homes in Yorkshire were in desperate need of modernisation. Unfortunately, the people most at risk of this are those on low incomes, and they don’t have the spare cash to make the improvements they need. This fund gives them an opportunity to give their house a new lease of life and some more money in the bank at the end of the month”. To apply, applicants must give a detailed financial statement about their household income and expenditure. If the applicant has no spare money after their household bills, regular living expenses and debt repayments have been made, they may qualify for a grant. Proof of income must be submitted with every application. Physical and mental health issues may strengthen an application. Mr Thompson added “with these schemes it’s important that people act fast, as we don’t know how long they are around for or how much money is available. We’ve seen this before with the Feed-in-Tariff and the ECO funding, and we urge those suffering most from high fuel bills to get in touch quickly”.

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