Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A good deal and a very green one

One of the issues for our Health and Wellbeing Board is housing, as poor housing conditions can have a serious impact on someone's physical and mental wellbeing.

It is a well-accepted fact that overall the condition of the housing stock in the UK is poor and certainly not energy efficient, which can make keeping a house warm in the cold weather very expensive.

There are still too many cases of older people, usually living on their own, who will sit in their kitchen using a ring on the cooker to try and keep warm. Not only is this a very inefficient and expensive way of heating, but it is also dangerous.

Then there are young families living in damp housing which can lead to all sorts of respiratory problems, and also impact on how one feels and may be a trigger for depression, which at any age can be so debilitating.

The Green Deal Scheme, launched by the government two years ago, is particularly aimed at improving the housing stock by making it energy efficient and therefore saving money on heating bills.

For the last year the County Council has been working on introducing a West Sussex Green Deal, which has support from the District and Borough Councils. The Green Deal will help householders with inadequate heating and insulation to have warm, energy saving homes at no upfront cost.

It’s an innovative scheme that allows households, landlords and businesses to invest in energy saving measures for their properties. The scheme is based on a loan of up to 25 years during which the bill payer pays back the loan from the savings made on their energy bills.

I fully support this initiative and was pleased that at the end of last week we made the formal decision to proceed. It is a new and exciting direction for the County Council which will help our most vulnerable, but will also be a boost to the local economy at a time when it needs a helping hand.

A few weeks ago I heard from the Chichester Observer that I had been nominated in the Politics category of the Chichester Observer Woman of the Year Awards. This is a new awards scheme and well done to Colin Channon, editor for the Observer series, for a good idea to promote women.

So on Friday evening I put on my party frock and high heels and went to the Awards Dinner. It was packed with so many women from all types of business and there was such a buzz of enthusiasm and enjoyment, with everyone supporting each other. The broadcaster Fred Dineage presented the awards, and with everyone there were great stories of what had been achieved.

These included the teacher who was teaching children maths, the paediatric nurse and speech therapist helping children, and Theresa Bates from Frame of Mind who won in two categories!

I have to admit to being amazed when I won the Women in Politics Award and was absolutely delighted. It was a great idea, and a great evening.

Best wishes,

1 comment:

  1. Its brilliant to hear that Green Deal plans are now in place. I think the scheme has the potential to help many people with their homes. Getting as much information to as many people as possible is key though!