The SHINE Project had its official launch in Hastings last month. UK Partners gathered at the Christ Church Center in St. Leonards-on-Sea to mark the start of the campaign.
The launch took the form of a short series of presentations, given by representatives of three of the UK partners, as well as local politician, Andy Batsford. It was attended by representatives of the other UK partners as well as staff from a variety of local third sector organisations and members of the public.
The launch commenced with a presentation by Diana Lock from housing provider Optivo. She gave an overview of the Shine Project in practical terms and outlined some of the challenges that confront the partners locally, as well as explaining the steps that are being taken to deal with these challenges.
Later Marie Jones, East Sussex Fuel Poverty Coordinator, discussed the serious health risks of living in cold homes. Shockingly, there are as many as 350 excess winter deaths in East Sussex alone, which poignantly underlines the scale and severity of the problem. With so much unnecessary illness each year, the cost to the NHS is massive. Cold related illness among people aged 65+ years costs an estimated £624 million.
The final presentation came from Tracy Dighton of Citizens Advice 1066. Tracy explained the need to take a comprehensive and preemptive approach to the issue of fuel poverty and emphasised the importance of a joined-up approach to identifying at risk households, which involves enlisting the support of all local advice organisations. The urgency of the need to give assistance was visually demonstrated in a chart that showed how the death rate in the local area rises significantly following the coldest day of the year.
The SHINE Project in Brighton & Hove will seek to find innovative ways of reducing CO2 emissions within Brighton, which simultaneously reducing the cost of domestic fuel consumption for those most at risk of suffering the negative health effects of living in a cold homes.
Photo by SLR Jester and used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC By 2.0) License