On 23 January 2019, members of community organisations, charities and local authorities from across the UK came together at the House of Commons as part of the NEA’s Heat Heroes award ceremony – an opportunity to honour the individuals going the extra mile to support those suffering with fuel poverty.
Sixteen Heat Heroes were recognised, including the Senior Project Manager of Severn Wye’s Warm and Well scheme, Rob Hargraves. The importance Rob has placed on nurturing a close working partnership with the Gloucestershire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group was particularly cited during the awards, as was his work to deliver £5m worth of heating measures to fuel poor homes, and his humble leadership of the skilled advice team – whom he is quick to acknowledge as being key to the success of the scheme:
“It’s wonderful to be given this award which I accept on behalf of the Warm & Well team at Severn Wye. Working within both the public and private sectors presents many challenges, but the Warm & Well team work every day helping some of the most vulnerable members of the public, and so are reminded on a daily basis about the struggles people face to keep warm and healthy in their homes. It is a crime that people should have to choose between heating their homes and putting food on the table. I’d like to thank everyone who helps us to support people in fuel poverty, especially the district councils and CCG in Gloucestershire, and South Gloucestershire Council.”
Providing support, funding and advice for households struggling in the cold weather is central to the work of the Warm & Well team, and in the fast-paced energy environment, seeking out funding opportunities and innovative ways to improve their quality of life is what makes up Rob’s day-to-day. Whether its levering in funding to meet customer’s needs, or using new technology and data mapping to find the worst-affected households – Rob’s work rarely glamorous, often relentless, but hugely worthwhile. And that’s what makes the Heat Hero moniker so appropriate.