n a meeting at Southampton City Council Civic Centre today, Southampton Warmth for All Partnership (SWAP) — a partnership to reduce fuel poverty in Southampton — marked 15 years of working together.
Councillor Steve Leggett, Cabinet Member for Green City, said: “Everyone should be able to live in a warm and comfortable home that does not negatively affect their health and wellbeing. It’s great that SWAP has been able to help so many vulnerable residents over the past 15 years, but there is still lots to do to make this a reality for all fuel poor households. We will continue to work with our members to support those households most in need.”
“SWAP’s help to those in fuel poverty also makes a valuable contribution to our Green City Charter, whose partners will deliver actions that will improve air quality, reduce pollution and waste, minimise the impact of climate change, reduce health inequalities and create a more sustainable approach to economic growth.”
Debbie Chase, Chair for the Southampton Warmth for All Partnership (SWAP) and Service Lead for Public Health, Southampton City Council, said: “I am very proud of SWAP’s achievements, both in making homes warmer and safer and supporting people out of fuel poverty. We know that living in a warm, safe home is one of the most important ways to keep people well.”
“SWAP also works with some of the most vulnerable people in our city, people who are choosing between eating and heating in the winter. In the past 15 years, about 10,000 Southampton households have benefited from support, that’s a great achievement and one we will continue to improve on.”
An estimated 12,000 (11.6%) Southampton households are living in fuel poverty, which means they struggle to keep warm and afford their energy bills. Living in a cold home can cause health problems including bad chests, heart conditions, poor blood circulation and depression.
SWAP members work collaboratively to raise awareness and understanding of the impact of fuel poverty, secure funding to deliver practical projects, promote good practice, influence government policy and address health and wellbeing issues associated with living in cold homes.
• Members have provided affordable warmth advice and support to approximately 9,625 Southampton households (since 2004).
• Since 2011 £1.78m of external funding has been secured to support fuel poverty and energy efficiency action in the city.
• Over the past 7 years more than 416 frontline workers have been trained to identify those struggling to keep warm and well.
• Delivered the award winning STOP the Cold project.
Attendees at today’s celebration event discussed current initiatives such as CitizEn Energy and Southampton Healthy Homes, as well as future opportunities. SWAP efforts to reduce fuel poverty also contribute to Southampton City Council’s Green City Charter, its commitment to providing cleaner air for residents.
SWAP was set up following the publication of the Southampton City Council’s Fuel Poverty and Healthy Homes Strategy (2004).
• SWAP members include Southampton City Council, Public Health, Southampton City CCG, the Environment Centre (tEC), Citizens Advice Southampton, Age UK Southampton and the University of Southampton
• The STOP the Cold project won the National Energy Action (NEA) Community Action Award 2013/14
• More information about CitizEn Energy: https://www.citizenenergyuk.co.uk/
• Further details about the Southampton Healthy Homes service: https://www.environmentcentre.com/projects/healthy-homes/