Oswestry people experiencing fuel poverty are being offered vital help by Age UK Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and the Marches Energy Agency (MEA).

More than 17,000 households are affected in Shropshire, meaning 16% of homes are in fuel poverty – higher than both the West Midlands and the UK average. In Telford, 7,700 or 11% of homes are affected.

Cold homes cost the NHS more than £1 billion a year as residents need extra medical help.

If you use high carbon fuels, are off-grid, or have an inefficient boiler or lack of insulation you could be at risk of cardiovascular disease or respiratory problems.

Making more people aware of funding and benefits is key to saving lives. Age UK Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin is working with MEA to ensure more people have access to benefits, grants and other schemes to make homes more comfortable and energy efficient. More funds have been allocated to help beat fuel poverty through an extra 100 home visits.

Heather Osborne, Chief Executive of Age UK Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, said: “With temperatures plummeting to minus 11 in some parts of Shropshire last winter, we are urging older people to think ahead and prepare their homes for the coming winter months.”

Simon Ross, Director of MEA, added: “People will die in Shropshire this winter because of excess cold. We have a constant stream of people coming forward who are struggling to keep their homes warm.

“We know that cold homes affect mental and physical health, leading to stress, respiratory problems and mobility issues as people stay in bed to keep warm.”

Out of 100 homes helped by Age UK Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and MEA last year, 86% said they are now more comfortable, 65% said they felt better in winter and 30% visited the doctor less.

Heather Osborne added: ‘I am delighted we have been able to secure the funding for a fourth year running to support older people keep their homes warm. Last year we visited over 100 older people who were desperate for help to reduce their energy bills but didn’t know where to turn, so please do pick up the phone and talk to us.”

If you would like a free Home Energy Check call Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin on 01743 233123.