A Wiltshire Council employee has been recognised as a national ‘Heat Hero’, thanks to her tireless work in the community.
Rachel Kent, who is a public health specialist for the council, has won the Heat Heroes Award, which is awarded to individuals who have gone ‘above and beyond’ to help people living in fuel poverty in their local community.
The scheme is run by fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action (NEA) in partnership with ScottishPower.
In her role, Rachel gained the responsibility for affordable warmth in 2015 and within a year has built partnerships and used her position in public health to build a single-point-of-contact cold homes referral service. The service meets most of the NICE guidance and is leading the way in many areas.
Rachel has helped support more than 800 people through the cold homes referral process. She also partnered with the Royal College of GPs in Wiltshire and more than 20 GP practices are already signed up to make referrals. In partnership with others, including the Centre for Sustainable Energy, she brought in £300,000 of energy efficiency and cold homes support. Rachel has also delivered joint initiatives internally at the council to tackle fuel poverty and created an energy advice section for the adult social care database at the council to further integrate health with energy provision.
Rachel said: “I am delighted to be named a Heat Hero by NEA and ScottishPower, credit should also go to my colleagues and project partners with Warm and Safe who are helping people in Wiltshire to stay warm in their homes. To receive recognition for our hard work is fantastic.”
Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public protection, said: “I’d like to congratulate Rachel for this recognition and her commitment to supporting people who struggle with fuel poverty in our communities.
“As a council we are committed to working with our partners and collectively doing all we can so that vulnerable people feel safe and warm in their homes, particularly as we head into the colder period.”
Maria Wardrobe, Director of External Affairs at NEA commented: “I want to congratulate all of our Heat Heroes for the excellent job they are doing in helping often vulnerable people in their communities. Our winners are truly an inspiration to others and I wish them all the best for the future.”
For more information about Warm and Safe Wiltshire people should visit www.warmandsafewiltshire.org.uk or call 0300 003 4575.