A council officer who has helped to improve the lives of thousands of vulnerable East Riding residents has won a national award.
Jane Mears, senior environmental health officer with East Riding of Yorkshire Council, has won a 2014 Heat Heroes Award for her work in helping people most in need of support to heat their homes efficiently.
The awards, launched by National Energy Action (NEA)and sponsored by Scottish Power, aim to recognise individuals who have made a significant contribution to helping people who are struggling with the effects of fuel poverty.
Jane’s role is to improve energy efficiency and minimise fuel poverty in private sector housing. She sources funding and works with a range of organisations to deliver projects to increase affordable warmth and improve the lives of people living in the area’s private sector housing stock.
Among the partner groups with which she has worked is community interest company Community Energy Solutions (CES), which has replaced outdated heating systems in properties off the gas network with new state-of-the-art air-source heat pumps. After more than 200 successful installations across the East Riding, the company says: “Thanks to Jane’s enthusiasm, creativity, tenacity, determination and powers of persuasion, the East Riding scheme has become by far the most successful in the country”.
Jane has also implemented npower’s Health Through Warmth (HTW) initiative in the local area since 2003. Since then more than 4,064 vulnerable residents in the East Riding have been referred to the scheme for aid with heating and insulation.
She has secured more than £5.1 million to help fund the work required, including £130,194 from charitable organisations and over £336,000 from the npower HTW Crisis Fund.
Jane was nominated for the award by the council’s public health team.
Councillor Jonathan Owen, deputy leader of the council and chairman of the East Riding health and wellbeing board, said: “Jane’s doggedness and determination in tackling fuel poverty and keeping it on everyone’s agenda has been amazing and she is a very just winner of this award”.
Dr Tim Allison, director of public health, said: “Fuel poverty is a major public health challenge and I am delighted that Jane has been recognised at a national level for all her hard work and dedication.”
Jane will receive her award at an event at the House of Commons on 8 April.
Maria Wardrobe, NEA’s director of external affairs, said: “Our Heat Heroes are vital to the lives of people in their communities. Many fuel poor households are isolated and vulnerable and difficult to reach. It is important that we give credit to people like Jane who are working tirelessly to help these people to stay warm and well in their homes.”