Groundwork Green Doctors worked with the NHS Integrated Care Partnership in Rochdale to help residents with health conditions to keep warm and well in their homes.

The relationship between warm homes and good health is strong, with research from Age UK estimating that the annual cost of people living in cold temperatures to the NHS is £1.36bn!

Rochdale has some of the highest levels of fuel poverty in the country with at estimated 31% of households living in fuel poor conditions.

How Green Doctors helped

Groundwork’s Green Doctors provided a range of support services to residents referred into the programmes, including behavioural advice, fitting small energy measures and referring customers in for larger measures.

  • Short Term: Immediate, or crisis interventions helped keep people safe and warm at home and meant they did not having to access the hospital or wider health system. We provided fuel vouchers, emergency winter packs and blankets/bedding.
  • Medium Term: Once the resident was safe, we could provide low-level energy interventions to make properties more energy efficient. This included programmers, thermostats, extra radiators and arranging boiler repairs.
  • Long Term: For homes with larger damp and cold challenges we referred residents to receive boiler/heating system replacements, cavity wall installations and other more large scale interventions that provide long term change.

Working in partnership

As part of the programme, Groundwork strengthened connections with health and social care staff in Rochdale such as Social Prescribing link workers, Hospitals and Social Care teams.

By identifying problems with the property sooner, our teams can provide interventions which prevent hospital admission or to ensure that discharge is not delayed.


Throughout the 12-month programme, our Green Doctors:

  • Undertook 1,822 energy advice consultations
  • Provided 924 fuel vouchers
  • Arranged 50 boiler replacements and/or repairs
  • Installed 17 homes with loft insulation and 6 homes with cavity wall insulation

Residents were asked a series of questions before and after the Green Doctor visits to understand the impact their home was having on their health. One question was “How is your home effecting your mental wellbeing?” Before the Green Doctor visited, the average response was 8 (10 being high), after receiving support, it dropped to 2.

Maryam’s Story

Maryam’s husband Harib has a skin condition which becomes agitated in cold weather. The effects can be minimised if he can maintain his body temperature, however with increased fuel prices this has become a challenge in the past year.

Made possible thanks to the support of: