Older people already benefiting from warm homes cash

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Older people across Derbyshire are benefiting from cheaper fuel thanks to funding from Derbyshire County Council.

In January the county council received just over £94,000 from the Government’s `Warm Homes Healthy People’ fund and has used the money to set up or give additional funds to schemes with community and voluntary organisations across the county.

Some of the money has been used to fund the Derbyshire Oil Buying Scheme run by Rural Action Derbyshire.

Under the scheme a year’s free membership will be provided to 400 older and vulnerable people across Derbyshire who sign up to the scheme before 31 March.

Membership to the oil buying scheme normally costs from £20 per year for domestic users to £100 per year for businesses and already nearly 70 people have signed up thanks to the county council’s cash boost.

The scheme buys oil monthly and in February members paid 58.45 pence per litre (before VAT), which compared to the highest price the scheme was quoted of 74 pence per litre. The average price was 65 pence per litre.

This is equal to an average saving of £32.75 on an order of 500 litres of oil.

Rural Action Derbyshire is a long-established charity and runs the oil scheme to benefit people who use kerosene (heating oil) to heat their homes, using the power of collective purchasing to achieve the savings.

Older people, disabled people, families with young children, people in fuel poverty and people with some health problems are included in the groups of people living in Derbyshire and Derby who would meet the criteria for the year’s free membership.

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Care Councillor Charles Jones said: “The Warm Homes Healthy People money is being put to very good use and people have already benefited from the worthwhile initiatives it is helping to support across the county.

“The oil purchasing scheme is an excellent example of this and people are already getting the savings. I hope more people will snap up the remaining memberships while they are free.”

More than 30 organisations and voluntary groups joined the county council in its bid for the Government cash.

Other schemes have included giving out free winter emergency packs containing items including a fleece blanket, a hat, instant soups, thermometers and hand warmers, and free ice and snow treads and grippers for volunteers who support vulnerable people so they can get out and about.

To apply for a year’s free membership people should contact Rural Action Derbyshire.Visit the website at www.ruralactionderbyshire.org.uk/oil, email oil@ruralactionderbyshire.org.uk or ring 01629 824797.