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Fighting Fuel Poverty in the UK is a massive challenge. Some age groups are particularly vulnerable to cold homes. The health problems associated with cold homes are experienced during 'normal' winter temperatures, not just during extremely cold weather.

 Main problems are for those that are living alone and spend many hours watching TV or resting. Immobility is a very common cause to feeling cold. 

 A wide range of people are vulnerable to the cold. This is either because of: a medical condition, such as heart disease; a disability that, for instance, stops people moving around to keep warm, or makes them more likely to develop chest infections; or personal circumstances, such as being unable to afford to keep warm enough.

 Living in a relatively energy-efficient home is not the only factor influencing whether someone can keep their home warm. The affordability of the energy needed (determined by the cost of fuel and household income) is a key factor. Cold homes can have a significant effect on people's social activities. 

 Aware of how a cold home can affect someone's health and are able to spot if someone is vulnerable to the cold and the risks they are facing. 

A household that cannot afford to heat its home is likely to be under stress, for instance, from being forced to live in the only heated room. Or it may need to choose between heating and food or other commodities or risk falling into debt.

 Housing conditions are a very important factor. The death rate rises about 2.8% for every degree Celsius drop in the external temperature for those in the coldest 10% of homes. This compares with a 0.9% rise in deaths for every degree Celsius drop in the warmest 10% of homes

 The Committee noted that a range of people were likely to be involved with those at risk from cold homes. These include health and social care practitioners as well as others from the housing, advice, utility and energy sectors. Workers from the voluntary sector and carers and neighbours are also likely to be involved. Because of the complexity of the problem, members noted the importance of making all these groups aware of how living in a cold home can affect people's health and how to access services locally.

 Public Health England's 2014 Cold Weather Plan notes that winter weather has a direct effect on the incidence of: heart attack, stroke, respiratory disease, flu, falls and injuries and hypothermia. Indirect effects include mental health problems such as depression, and the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if boilers, cooking and heating appliances are poorly maintained or poorly ventilated.

 The role of energy companies in addressing the impact of cold homes'

'Working in local partnerships to address the impact of cold homes'.

'Alzheimer's and dementia in relation to cold homes and excess winter mortality and morbidity'

'Benefit changes, fuel poverty and disability'

 SAP scores vary according to the type of construction, level of insulation and type of heating system and its associated costs. Housing with insulated cavity walls, insulation to walls and roofs and central heating tend to have higher scores. Properties reliant on traditional forms of electric heating (such as storage heaters) may have a lower SAP score.

 Professional interventions are needed to ensure most vulnerable receive the help they need. More needs to be done by the government, energy and distribution companies and the community and voluntary sectors. Usually, most health sector challenges come from identifying and engaging with people who are most at risk of health problems from the cold and helping to ensure they have access to, and receive, the necessary support. Here at Homeglow we have the most efficient and cost saving solution to reduce fuel poverty and offer solution that make a difference to those in need. 

Sara Qualter