Warming to task of saving our old folk

Brian Holmes at home in Loxley, Sheffield
Brian Holmes at home in Loxley, Sheffield
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A RETIRED couple in Sheffield are backing The Star’s Surviving Winter Appeal after they received help last year to see them through the bitter weather.

Hazel and Brian Holmes received funding from the South Yorkshire Energy Centre to insulate their home in Loxley.

With energy prices soaring and a cold winter looming, cavity wall insulation and draught exclusion will help Hazel, aged 78, and Brian, 79, keep their heating bills down.

The Star is trying to help pensioners like Hazel and Brian survive. There are 73,000 elderly people in South Yorkshire living in fuel poverty. They struggle to heat their homes in winter.

The Government pays every person over 60 a winter fuel allowance, usually at least £200 per household, but many do not need it.

The Surviving Winter Appeal is trying to persuade people who don’t really need their allowance to donate it to those who do. Donated money, administered by the South Yorkshire Community Foundation, will help less well off people to pay fuel bills or fit insulation.

Brian, who worked for Sheffield engineering firm Doncasters, said: “We have been able to control our heating, but at the rate that bills are going up what are people supposed to do?

“People just can’t afford to pay for it. Last year we had cavity wall insulation put in and it’s made a world of difference.”

They signed up to become Energy Champions. Hazel, a retired nursery teacher, said: “We did a six-week course on how to become energy efficient in the home. We want to help other people and get this information we have learned out to help people be warmer and wiser.

“There are so many older people whose only income is their old age pension. It is people like that who really need the help.”