Emergency services staff in the borough have signed up to an initiative aimed at identifying and helping North Tynesiders living in fuel poverty.
The pilot project, called Home Heating Heroes, has been prompted by the fact that many vulnerable householders only see other people when something goes wrong in their homes.
It is being led by the Green North Tyneside Partnership and involves staff from organisations including the North East Ambulance Service’s patient transport team, Warm Zones, the police and firefighters.
Warm Zones survey manager John Leslie said: “We are working in North Tyneside to reduce fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency in everyone’s homes.”
“Warmer homes lead to healthier homes, and this is a unique project that quite simply will help to save lives and reduce the number of unnecessary winter deaths.
“The project gives Warm Zones an extra pair of eyes and ears into the community and, with the help of the emergency services, allows us to reach the parts that no other services can reach.”
Chirton ward councillor John Stirling, North Tyneside Council’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “We’re delighted that the Green North Tyneside Partnership board is supporting our safe and healthy homes team in this way.
“Together, we are working really hard to improve the health of our residents.
“Our team provides an invaluable service to residents, helping to fix any issues within their homes that may affect their health, including heating improvements to prevent people from living in fuel poverty.
“By training front-line emergency services to spot the signs of fuel poverty, it means we have extra support in identifying those residents who may benefit from the help available.”
The three-month scheme is being funded via the council and the NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group.