Research by East Coast Community Healthcare into the impact of warm homes on people’s health and wellbeing has won the organisation a prestigious award.
The social enterprise, which provides NHS services in Norfolk and Waveney, was awarded the RISE (Research, Innovation, Sustainability and Enterprise) award for Social Value by the Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design Society at a special event in Kesgrave.
ECCH’s Research and Development team was asked to assess Suffolk County Council’s ‘Warm Homes Healthy People’ project which involved installing insulation in the homes of vulnerable people some with physical or mental health problems living in fuel poverty in the county.
Fuel poverty levels in some parts of Suffolk have reached 46% but evidence shows the annual cost of heating Suffolk homes could be halved by implementing energy efficiency measures.
Following the intervention, fewer individuals reported their health as poor. Improvement was most notable in those with the very poorest levels of health. All those interviewed reported a positive impact on their health and wellbeing, and some reported economic benefit.
ECCH’s Executive Director of Quality Dr Noreen Cushen-Brewster said: “We are so pleased to win this award as this was a challenging piece of research that we completed on a very tight budget in collaboration with the University of Suffolk and Suffolk County Council. It involved us putting in lots of extra hours, on top of our normal working days, because we felt it was a socially important project. ECCH’s ethos is to try to add social value where we can in our communities and we hope this will help to demonstrate the impact on health by investing in home improvements for vulnerable people which has a very beneficial impact on residents’and is money wisely spent.”
The RISE awards were set up to recognise that design and construction of sustainable buildings enables people to live well. They bring together academic, industry, third sector and community groups who are helping to change the way we build and live in the future.