Free home energy service - Homes4Health
Is your home too cold? Does this affect your health? Do you find it hard to pay your energy bills?
Living in a cold home can make a range of health issues worse, including respiratory and circulatory problems. The Council’s Homes4Health programme provides free home energy support and visits to residents in Kensington and Chelsea to help them keep warm, make their home energy efficient, save money on their energy bills and improve their health.
A single referral to the scheme will provide access to a range of services.
Covid-19 response – free energy telephone consultation
In response to the Coronavirus epidemic, the free home energy visits have been suspended as a precautionary measure and replaced with a free telephone-based or online consultation. Residents can still receive energy advice and will have the opportunity to get a free home energy visit and the small energy efficiency measures installed once the Governmental restrictions are lifted.
Free 1:1 energy advice over the phone during Coronavirus pandemic
With more people at home due to COVID-19, and many people losing their jobs, energy bills might be harder to manage. The Homes4Health telephone consultation has been developed to help during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Council is working with the environmental charity Groundwork to provide free phone consultations to support residents to get on top of energy debt, switch provider, access grant and other support, and manage energy use in the home.
The telephone consultation is available and free for all households (all tenure type) that meet the following criteria (in the same way as the home energy visits):
- if you are over 65, or
- are on a low income, or
- have a long term health condition or disability
The telephone consultation is carried out by independent trained energy advisors called Green Doctors who are part of Groundwork London. Visit the Green doctors website for further information.
Green Doctors can assist you online and on the phone if you are self-isolating or reducing social contact during the Covid-19 pandemic. You can receive a free home energy consultation over the phone to help you maintain a healthy and comfortable home and save money.
Green Doctors can offer expert advice on energy bills and tariffs and help you to access all the financial support you are entitled to at this difficult time.
How to book a telephone consultation or make a referral
To book a free telephone consultation with one of the Green Doctors, either phone our freephone number 0300 365 3005 or fill in their form on the Green Doctors website.
Appointments can be arranged with sign language interpretation (via video call) and language interpretation as well for non-English speakers.
If residents would like to receive a free Homes4Health home energy visit once the service resumes instead of the telephone consultation, the Green Doctor will log this on their system. This will prompt Groundwork to follow-up at a later date.
What is included in the telephone consultation
The call will last around 45 minutes to an hour, during which time the Green Doctor will ask residents a series of questions to give you tailored advice, and will try to answer any of your energy-related questions:
- includes an initial discussion on energy saving advice
- you can ask for information about the property on a room by room basis, much like the home visit
- advice on reading energy bills and signing up for cheaper tariffs and on-the-phone support to change tariff if needed (where possible loop your energy provider into the call to negotiate a cheaper deal)
- advice on behaviour changes to deal with damp and mould
- what you can do to save energy and money
- help to deal with energy and water debt and apply for grants (where possible the Green Doctor can also complete a Watersure or Watersure Plus application on your behalf - this will be emailed to you to complete and sign)
- help to get your meter topped up during the restrictions
- a chance to sign up for the Warm Homes Discount (£140 off your bills) and - where applicable - loop your energy provider into the call to get them registered for this service - visit the GOV.UK website for further information
- a chance to sign up for the Priority Services Register - so you get extra support and help first during a power cut - visit the USwitch website for further details
- discuss additional support organisations and get consent to make onward referrals on your behalf
- discuss what measures you would like installed at a later date when the Homes4Health service resumes
Events and training for frontline staff
This is a free webinar for frontline staff where you can find out more about the Green Doctor service. The webinar will cover:
- how the free telephone consultations work
- who could benefit from the service
- how to refer individuals
- useful tips
The webinar will be held on Microsoft Teams; you do not need to download any application. The link will be sent to you in the confirmation email. For more information visit the Green Doctors website.
Green Doctors visits (temporarily suspended)
The Homes4Health is delivered by the environmental charity Groundwork London and is a free service, giving health and financial advice to some of Kensington and Chelsea's most vulnerable households – particularly young families and elderly residents and those with multiple health conditions.
Residents can register for a free home energy visit and tailored energy saving advice which will be carried out by certified and neutral energy advisers, called Green Doctors.
Home visits will last about 2 hours on average.
What’s included in the visit?
- Tailored energy efficiency advice and guidance about saving energy and reducing fuel bills whilst keeping warm in your home.
- Advice on using the heating controls in your home, and ensuring they are set appropriately for the needs of your household.
- Fitting/installing FREE small energy and water saving measures/devices (which are easy-to-install) such as LED lightbulbs, basic draft proofing around windows and doors, radiator reflective panels and aerating taps and showerheads which will affect the energy efficiency. All the measures will be discussed with you before they are fitted, and nothing will be fitted without your consent.
- Refer residents for larger measures (such as loft, cavity wall insulation and boiler upgrades) ensuring long term sustainable solutions to eradicate fuel poverty and its negative health implications. These will help reduce the energy bills.
- Green Doctors will provide Free Seasonal Stay Warm Pack to help residents stay warm whilst still realising bill savings - this will consist of a snuggle blanket, temperature card, thermos mug, warm gloves, hat and socks.
- Further help on how to maximise use of fuel discounts by claiming benefits and applying for debt assistance to access help from energy companies, such as the Warm Home Discount/Priority and sign up for Priority Services Register (£140).
- Offer impartial advice on switching fuel companies to save money - guidance on gas and electricity tariffs, best fuel tariffs available if you want to change to a new supplier and payment methods.
- Improve resident understanding of utility bills by 1-2-1 advice and helping residents through an energy bill switching service enabling them to access cheaper fuel.
- RBKC Healthier Homes Scheme Referral.
- Onward referrals to improve health and wellbeing, and reduce fuel poverty.
- Provide a gateway for other related services by connecting residents to home, home safety, and health and well-being services.
- Integrated 1-1 behaviour advice to embed long-term change and further improve health and finance.
- Help with social isolation.
The Green Doctors can put you in touch with:
- Health and well-being services
- London fire brigade for a free fire safety check and smoke alarm
- Benefit checks
- Handyperson schemes
- Befriending programmes
You may qualify for this free service if you:
- are aged 16-25 and on a low income
- are over 65
- are on a low income, pregnant or with children under 5
- are young parents aged under 35 on low income
- have respiratory or cardiovascular disease on low income
- have severe mental illness or dementia on low income
- have multiple health issues, physical disability or suffering from long term on low income
How is a referral made?
Information about Homes4Health
The 'Homes4Health' programme is a consortium initiative of four London boroughs - the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea as the lead partner, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London Borough of Hounslow and London Borough of Camden and the housing provider Octavia.
The main objectives of the programme are to provide warmer, affordable and healthier homes, increase comfort and reduce bills to some of London’s most vulnerable residents experiencing severe fuel poverty. The Homes4Health scheme is being funded by National Grid’s £150 million Warm Homes Fund which is being administered by Affordable Warmth Solutions (AWS), along with match funding from Homes4Health partners.
The Warm Homes Fund (WHF) is designed to support local authorities, registered social landlords and other organisations working in partnership with them, to address some of the issues affecting fuel poor households.