Celebrating our Heat Heroes

It was celebration time on Wednesday 29 January, as fourteen people were named national ‘Heat Heroes’ for the work they are doing to tackle fuel poverty in the UK.

The Heat Heroes Award Scheme recognises individuals who have made a significant contribution to helping people living in fuel poverty in their local community, either at work or in voluntary activities. It’s supported by the four Gas Distribution Networks – SGN, Wales and West Utilities, Cadent and Northern Gas Networks.

Winners attended a ceremony at the House of Commons where they had the opportunity to meet with MPs representing the constituencies in which they work. The quality of applicants was so high that an additional three people were also chosen to receive ‘highly commended’ awards. NEA Business supporters and other stakeholders also joined in the celebrations.

Adam Scorer, Chief Executive of NEA said: ‘across the country our Heat Heroes are working day in, day out to make a difference to those living in fuel poverty. For some, that’s by providing direct advice to householders in need. For others, it’s being the driving force behind projects that help tackle cold homes, or ensuring fuel poverty outcomes are adopted at strategic level. All of them are making people’s lives better and healthier”.

It has been a privilege to meet them and learn more about their work, and I commend them for their commitment to bringing affordable warmth for all’.

For more information on our Heat Heroes and their work, you can find out more in our event booklet. 

The 2019-20 Heat Heroes are;

  • Sophia Reid, Energy Caseworker at Citizens Advice County Durham.
  • Jonathan Smith, GP at Silverdale Family Practice.
  • Hala Alasaly, Support and Progressions Assistant at Your Homes Newcastle.
  • Jake Ellis, Energy Adviser at Plymouth Energy Community.
  • Karis Price, Lead Community Worker – Healthy Homes Healthy People at Warm Wales.
  • Tara Bowers – Project Coordinator at Exeter Community Energy.
  • Laura Wicks, Account Manager at SGN.
  • Paula Hilton, Repairs and Contracts Manager at Arun District Council.
  • Amanda Martin, Climate Change and Energy Conservation Officer at Dover District Council.
  • Sandra Woodfall, Environmental Promotions Officer at Dartford Borough Council.
  • Leanne Elsworthy, Public Health Officer at Wigan Council.
  • Edward Leddy Owen, Home Improvement Co-ordinator at the Joint Environmental Health Service at Bolsover District and North East Derbyshire District Council.
  • Emma Blackburn, Project Coordinator at YES Energy Solutions.
  • Maria Wardrobe, former Director of Communications and External Relations at NEA.
  • Helen Richmond (highly commended), Energy & Home Support Support Officer at Newark and Sherwood District Council.
  • Janine Gruchy (highly commended), Sustainability Officer at Broadland District Council and South Norfolk Council.
  • Wendy Collas (highly commended), Executive Assistant at Warfield Park

Tom Bell, Head of Social Strategy at Northern Gas Networks, said:

“Fuel poverty is one of the most pressing issues in our region, with the North East of England recording the highest number of households with lived experience of fuel poverty, with more than 13 percent of households struggling to keep their homes warm; particularly during the colder months.

“As the North of England’s gas distributer, and a company that’s embedded in the heart of the region, we feel it’s our duty to support communities and individuals facing difficulties, such as fuel poverty and associated forms of vulnerability.  We’re proud to deliver a wide range of support to enable people to access affordable warmth, alongside our expert partners who help us to help us reach those most in need.

“We’re delighted to be able to support National Energy Actions Heat Heroes, and recognise the important work of incredible individuals who are making a real and lasting difference to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of those living in poorly heated homes.”

Nigel Winnan, Customer and Social Obligations Manager, Wales and West Utilities, said:

“Wales & West Utilities are sponsoring these awards because they recognise the individuals who make the real difference, finding the most vulnerable people in our society who can fall under the radar, and putting packages of support together that make a real difference to the quality of life of that individual.”

Jeremy Nesbitt, Managing Director, Affordable Warmth Solutions, said:

“Both Cadent and Affordable Warmth Solutions are delighted to be supporting the NEA Heat Heroes Awards; we are committed to providing our customers with the best possible experience and we are indebted to the support of our extended network of key stakeholders who share our vision and provide so much energy and commitment to delivering great outcomes for those affected by fuel poverty. To recognise those who are leaders in their own communities is both humbling and an extremely proud moment for those individuals”.

Marie Jones, Stakeholder Engagement Manager (Fuel Poverty), SGN, said:

“SGN is committed to providing support for the fuel poor households, in particular through our Help to Heat team. Engaging households in need and finding ways to make a positive impact is a challenge – we applaud the efforts of those who rise to this challenge and their work changing lives for the better. The Heat Hero awards are an opportunity to acknowledge a few individuals as outstanding examples, but also to raise awareness of the many people who work tirelessly and also deserve recognition”.




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