Don’t be too proud to ask for help, is the message Holbeach Bank resident Jane Gilyatt has for people shivering inside inadequately heated homes.
Jane (70 this month) was talking from her home that has been “cosy and warm” since she had a new heating system installed just before Christmas thanks to a scheme called Responders to Warmth.
With just one heat source in the house – a multi-fuel wood burning stove connected up to radiators, but which never worked properly – Jane suffered in the winter weather.
“The bathroom was the worst,” she said. “I had to work myself up to having a bath or shower because it was so cold. I did get a Calor Gas heater and that made things a little bit better, but it’s expensive to run and causes a lot of condensation.”
Having filled in a questionnaire from South Holland District Council about energy, heating and whether she was receiving benefits, Jane then received a telephone call followed up by a visit from someone who assessed her situation and said she was entitled to help with central heating.
Responders to Warmth manager Alan Jones explains the scheme installed an air source heating system which works like a refrigerator in reverse, converting energy from the air into hot water to heat the radiators and supply hot water.
Jane says she has something resembling an air conditioning unit on the outside of the bungalow and another unit up in the loft, and adds: “It didn’t sound too bad when they talked about the running costs and that’s why I thought I would try it. I am checking my electric meter each week and, looking at it, it should be within my capabilities to keep it going.
“I feel lovely and cosy and warm. I am being careful because I am still using my wood burner because I am lucky that my son-in-law and a neighbour can get me wood so it’s pointless burning energy when I don’t need to, but I am not getting any younger and there will be a point when I can’t manage to fetch in wood or coal.
“The people at Responders to Warmth have been really good to me. Other people shouldn’t be too proud to ask for help. It’s hard, one of the hardest things you do to admit you need help, but the help is there.”
What’s more, Alan Jones says he is hoping to get Jane on a new scheme in April, a renewable heat incentive in which the government pays for every unit of energy that comes out of the system.