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Rochdale couple safe as houses following council support

Press release   •   Sep 19, 2014 15:22 BST

A Sudden couple who believe getting their gas fire fixed could have saved their lives are urging residents to take advantage of a new scheme to get their gas appliances checked before winter arrives.

George and Marjorie Davies, of Tomlinson Street, had their gas fire fixed free of charge following a routine check which found it had cracked glass and a faulty burner. Both problems can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Now Rochdale Council has received funding from the Foundations Independent Living Trust Gas Safe Charity to run a similar scheme this year and the Davies’ are encouraging residents to use the support available to ensure their homes are safe and ready for winter.

George (83), said: “We had our fire serviced and the engineer picked these issues up but said we would need to replace our entire fireplace and the boiler behind it. That would have cost us over £3,000 and we couldn’t afford it. We also didn’t want all the disruption.

“Then we saw a leaflet about the council scheme and within a few weeks a man had come over and replaced the glass and burner. It was really easy. I expected to have to pay for the parts at least but the whole thing was free. It was brilliant to get it all sorted and know we’re safe and can use the fire. It’s so dangerous when gas leaks, getting it fixed could just have saved our lives.”

The £5,000 pot of cash the council has received from the charity can be used to fund a number of things, including gas safety checks, gas fire/boiler servicing and gas boiler and fire repairs. The funding will be available until 30 June 2015 or until it has been spent.

It is available to people who fall into the following categories:

  • Home owners who are 60 years of age or over and who receive means tested benefit
  • Home owners who are 60 years of age or over and who receive state pension only (with no other income)
  • Home owners who are 60 years of age or over and who are disabled (either registered disabled or can evidence disability, eg receiving DLA)
  • Home owners who are 21 years or over who are disabled (either registered disabled or can evidence disability, eg receiving DLA)

The maximum award per property is £500, although it is expected that the average cost of work per property will be much less than this. All work will be undertaken by Gas Safe registered contractors.

Steve Blezard, Assistant Director of Adult Care at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Now that Autumn is just around the corner, it’s vital that people’s heating appliances are fit for purpose. Gas appliances can be very dangerous when they are not working properly and our residents cannot be expected to keep their fire off during the cold winter months, when it’s vital for both their health and comfort that they can use it. I would urge older or disabled people, or their friends and relatives, to contact us and take advantage of the help that’s available.”

Anyone who would like to access the service should contact Rochdale Borough Council’s adult care team on 01706 926671 between 9am and 5pm on weekdays or email, with the name, address and telephone number of the person who would like support and brief details of what they need help with.

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