Mr Toasty to Warm Rochdale
By Anne Lewis-Schneider
The newest addition to cartoon characters is Mr Toasty, the mascot for a new initiative started by Councillor Sultan Ali, who is the Council cabinet member for Rochdale’s stronger communities and housing. Mr Toasty is part of a campaign for the greater Manchester area, in a bid to reduce energy usage by funding home improvements that will improve energy consumption and lower domestic energy bills for heating.
The object of this campaign is to encourage lower income families, those that receive benefits, the elderly, and those living in older housing to take advantage of free or partially funded home upgrades and improvements such as loft insulation, solid wall insulation, and the replacement of inefficient boilers before the onset of the coming winter. Sultan Ali hopes that Toasty Rochdale will help by supplying funding for these improvements to families that are suffering with what he calls fuel poverty.
It is known that poor insulation allows heat to escape and pushes up heating bills, as well as adding to carbon emissions. Councillor Sultan Ali would like to see this turned around and has urged families to call the Greater Manchester Energy Advice Service to see if the qualify for assistance, he further added that if your family is battling with heating bills then this could be the support you need. He added that the aim of this initiative is to get as many people as possible to take advantage of this help.
If you are spending more than 10% of your income on fuel to keep your home adequately heated, then you fall under the group of people who are fuel poor. In 2011 there were 4.5million households that fell into this category. The average adequate temperature stands at between 18 and 21 degrees.
The new Welfare Reform changes are going to see more families receiving less support and whilst this may not affect your home in the warmer summer months, it could be a rather hefty blow when winter arrives. This scheme has arrived at a critical time, when help will be needed for families that are trying to adjust to these new financial constraints as it is, without having to worry about increasing heating bills in the months to come. Mr Toasty was on hand at Number One Riverside to promote the scheme and generally encourage families to take action.
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