Ray Harrington-Vail from The Footprint Trust was awarded a Heat Hero by fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) in London recently for his contribution to tackling fuel poverty in the Isle of Wight.
The Heat Hero Award Scheme recognises individuals across England and Wales who have made a significant contribution to helping people living in fuel poverty in their local community. The Awards are supported by ScottishPower.
For the past 10 years, Ray Harrington-Vail has been helping residents on the Isle of Wight reduce their ecological footprint. As General Manager of the Footprint Trust, Ray has been an inspiring leader of the island’s environmental sector and has led a thriving organisation which is focused on practical action and solutions. In recent years, Ray has become increasingly concerned with fuel poverty issues and the growing number of households that are struggling to meet their fuel costs. He has secured funding to deliver three major projects – ‘Energetic’, ‘Warmahome’ and ‘Cash Low? Cash Flow’- which have targeted those who are most vulnerable to cold-related illness. All of this has been achieved with modest operating budgets and a small staff team whose enthusiasm is second to none.
Ray said: “I am delighted to be chosen as a Heat Hero by NEA and ScottishPower, it is worth all of the hard work when you know that you have helped people in the Isle of Wight community to stay warm in their homes’. It often comes as a shock to people visiting this picturesque holiday destination that we have high levels of fuel poverty. My work is part of a team effort though and colleagues at The Footprint Trust and the Isle of Wight’s Children’s Centres and many other organisations deserve the credit too.”
Maria Wardrobe, Director of NEA said: “The Heat Heroes are a credit to their communities, particularly as some experts are predicting this winter to be the coldest in 100 years. The consequences of fuel poverty can be devastating, ranging from psychological stress, worry and social isolation to causing or exacerbating serious illnesses such as respiratory and circulatory conditions, with an estimated 100 excess winter deaths occurring last year in The Isle of Wight. I am delighted that we have people like Ray working to help vulnerable people keep warm in their homes in his community.”
Neil Clitheroe, CEO, ScottishPower Retail and Generation said: “ScottishPower was delighted to support the Heat Heroes award scheme for the second year to recognise the contribution that individuals are making to assist people in their communities across England and Wales. Individuals like Ray are vitally important to their communities, ensuring help gets to those people most in need.”
Notes to the Editor
1. NEA is the UK’s leading fuel poverty charity, campaigning for affordable warmth in the homes of vulnerable people. For further details visit http://www.nea.org.uk
2. Excess winter deaths are defined by the Office for National Statistics as the difference between the number of deaths during the four winter months (December to March) and the average number of deaths during the preceding autumn (August to November) and the following summer (April to July).
3. The Heat Heroes were awarded at a celebratory event in London by Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan, Vice President of NEA on 11th December 2012.
4. Fuel poverty is defined as the need to spend over 10% of household income on fuel costs to maintain adequate warmth for health and comfort
For further information contact Claire Henderson 0191 269 2909
NEA, Level 6, West One, Forth Banks, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3PA