Cold Calling For Affordable Warmth

TO make sure that tenants are keeping warm this winter, Riverside has enlisted the support of volunteer winter callers to offer access to affordable warmth services for the elderly and vulnerable. Volunteer Riverside tenants from Merseyside and Halton spent the day training for their winter caller roles, learning more about the range of support available.  The group of five volunteers used their new-found skills and knowledge to call almost 200 tenants in the Merseyside area, to make sure that they are prepared for the inevitable winter spike in fuel costs. Rhoda Wilkinson, Riverside’s affordable warmth officer, said:  “People seemed to respond well to the calls, especially when they realised that the volunteers are also Riverside tenants, who have benefited from affordable warmth advice themselves.  The team referred some to specialist affordable warmth officers and offered others information about the benefits of switching providers and how to do it.” Volunteers also referred people to Riverside’s money advice and employment and training services. Rhoda added: “They all said they felt they’d made a difference and are keen to continue to volunteer.  We’ve helped our tenants save almost £200,000 over the last nine months on fuel bills and additional benefits people didn’t realise they were entitled to.  We’re keen to reach many more people with affordable warmth advice to put an end to fuel poverty in our neighbourhoods.” Riverside is one of the UK’s leading social housing and regeneration organisations owning or managing around 55,000 homes from Irvine to Ipswich, with around 2,600 staff and a turnover of £292 million. They provide Retirement Living and supported housing for elderly, homeless and vulnerable people, in addition to general needs, affordable properties for rent and shared ownership. For more information visit www.riverside.org.uk