North East and Yorkshire

Big Heater Amnesty Project, Wakefield

Wakefield Council is launching a ‘heater amnesty’ project, for vulnerable residents who qualify – to swap an older heater for a new safer version.

The Council’s ‘Energy and Homeowner Support Team’, working in partnership with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Groundwork Yorkshire’s Green Doctor provision, are behind the Big Heater Amnesty Project which aims to reduce those at risk of injury or death through fire, and tackle fuel poverty within the district by encouraging residents to trade in their old inefficient plug-in heaters.

The project is aimed at residents who are heating their homes with portable heaters as their main heating source. West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have seen a number of serious fires resulting from portable heating over the last few months. The project offers the chance for residents to swap one heater at no cost, with a safer oil filled heater that may also be cheaper to run.

Cllr Darren Byford, Cabinet Member for Employment and Skills at Wakefield Council, explained: “We know that our residents are facing some really tough times at the moment and some are having to heat one room with a portable heater.  This can be expensive, potentially dangerous and a risk to health. This all round approach will help our residents to be safer in their homes, warmer and spend less on heating.”

Cllr Maureen Cummings, Cabinet Member for Environment, Communities and Poverty, said: “During these difficult times with Covid-19 and the pressure of winter fuel costs,  I am pleased this scheme will reach out to residents and offer them support. It’s a great example of strong partnership working with West Yorkshire Fire Service and Groundwork Yorkshire’s Green Doctor provision to make a real difference to people in our district.”

The Money Smart Team and the Green Doctors will provide energy advice, link to energy measures to improve the heating within the home and provide debt help. Groundwork Yorkshire’s Green Doctor service will be delivering the heaters and collecting the old ones. West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will provide additional fire safety advice and support to residents in the form of a “Safe and Well” visit.

Wakefield District Prevention Manager for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Donna Wagner, said: “We work tirelessly to make West Yorkshire safer every single day, and are delighted to be supporting this important project. Everyone should feel safe at home, and we’re so pleased to be able to support this initiative that sees those who are most at risk made even safer – oil filled heaters are a safer option, and are more cost effective in the long run.”

 Groundwork Yorkshire’s Green Doctor Manager, Simon Kilshaw explained: “This scheme provides a great opportunity for people to access safe, portable heaters and receive support around energy costs, energy-efficiency and heating system needs.”

Residents can apply to see if they are eligible by calling Money Smart on 01924 305892 or The Green Doctors on Freephone 0808 1683547.