With tens of thousands of older people dying prematurely each winter, and more than a million older people unable to afford to adequately heat their homes, Age UK Notts invited local MP Vernon to join its campaign for warmer homes. The assistant Chief Executive of the charity, Di Trinder, presented Vernon with a knitted scarf before inviting him to meet some local older people which are part of their Kindred Spirits group.
Vernon joined the local older people for a seated-exercise class and really threw himself into learning the moves, admitting it was harder than it looks. After the class he stayed to chat to some of the Kindred Spirits to discuss the cost of heating their homes. Sticking with the theme of winter warmth the charity were selling cupcakes adorned with winter bobble hats. All of the proceeds from the bake sale will go towards to supporting local older people this winter.
The event was arranged as part of Cold Homes Week in which the charity is calling on the government to commit to a major programme of investment to make millions of homes much more energy efficient. Such energy efficiency improvements would not only result in warmer homes and lower bills, but could lift nine out of 10 homes out of fuel poverty.
Cold homes are a major contributing factor in the staggeringly high numbers of excess winter deaths that occur in this country every year. Last winter there were 28,500 excess winter deaths in the over 65 age group – a 29 percent rise on the year before. The charity is warning that many of these deaths could have been prevented if everyone lived in a warm home.
Vernon said “I am very concerned that support for households in fuel poverty has halved under this Government and I will continue to press for action on both energy prices and to improve energy efficiency. I am grateful to Age UK for their campaigning work on behalf of older people. It is such an important message and I am pleased to support it. I had a fantastic time at Age UK Notts and I feel privileged to have met first hand some of the local older people I am working to support.”
Di Trinder, Assistant Chief Executive at Age UK Notts, said “We are extremely grateful to Vernon Coaker MP for coming and showing his support for our campaign for warm homes. With so many older people suffering during the winter, it’s more important than ever to protect them from the cold weather and relentless energy price hikes.”