Guest speaker sessions – Rother LSP

Presentations on the this year’s theme Creating and Developing Healthy Homes

Dr Tony Leonard explains the financial and housing challenges faced by Rother District Council, particularly following the effects of significant funding cuts. Overall target for providing all types of housing is over 400 per year, with 30 to 40% of those being affordable homes, dependent upon different areas of Rother.

In 2015/16 Rother delivered 107 affordable homes, being the highest so far. Most of these were specialist, including extra care schemes and mental health schemes.

Dr Leonard explained some main issues in the private rented sector, which are concentrated mainly in Central Bexhill and parts of Rye, with main complaints being damp and cold.

Dr Leonard closed with asking delegates what they might need to consider at today’s conference: what are our priorities, where do we direct resources, how can we meet challenges?

Angela Prickett presents the challenges faced by Amicus Horizon, but also by all housing associations. Housing associations principals are that they:

  • Are a viable business
  • Build, manage and maintain homes
  • Meet local housing need

Angela shared Amicus Horizon’s strategic plan 2016-2020. The main challenges are:

  • Welfare reform
  • 1% rent reduction
  • Technology
  • Affordability

An interesting national statistic shared is that last year £4.6b of housing benefit went unclaimed by those entitled to it – these are the people we need to reach.

Amicus Horizon’s mission is to build homes and help people. The opportunities are: to develop technology; build on financial strength; resilient, well-equipped staff, and; strong partnerships with RDC and East Sussex County Council, looking towards working more closely with health partnerships.

Richard Watson, NHS Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group and Marie Jones, East Sussex Fuel Poverty Co-ordinator focused their presentation on Tackling Health and Wellbeing Issues Related to Cold Homes.

Richard explained the health priorities:

  • Safe warm homes main contributor to wellbeing
  • Preventing accidents in the home amongst children, with 0-4 year olds at the most risk
  • Preventing falls amongst the older population – more than 1 in 5 homes pose risks.

Marie Jones looked at risks to health in terms of fuel poverty

Excess winter deaths – round 30% of EWD are related to impact of cold indoor temperatures on vulnerable people

Below 12oC may lead to increase in strokes, respiratory illness, worsening arthritis and rheumatism.

Marie guided the conference through some statistics in Rother – vulnerable groups of people and geographical areas where people at most risk are.

The East Sussex Fuel Poverty Reduction Pathway will

  • Offer training to frontline staff
  • Raise awareness at professional level
  • Encourage Refer Local support
  • Winter Home check service – all year round and free
  • Referral to national support organisations and grant funding schemes

The Questions and Answer sessions followed the presentations, after which the group breaked for refreshments and networking.

Representatives of the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service explain how they are working to Help People Stay Safe in the Home.

Some local statistics:

  • 2015/16 in Rother 63 accidental fires, mostly cooking related.
  • Since 2006 10,000 home safety visits have helped to make homes safer.

The conference was taken through the effects of fire in the home, and the factors that may contribute to fires starting, which is mainly distraction, caused by several factors including alcohol, drugs, dementia, and prescribed medication.

East Sussex Fire Authority use databases to help identify vulnerable people to identify risks and help to provide information, support and equipment to those in need. The guest speakers took the delegates through the issues that cause vulnerability.

When a vulnerable household is referred, a variety of outcomes are explored and delivered by East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, with the focus on prevention.

How can you within your groups help to identify and work in partnership to achieve safer communities?