Grant for healthy homes helps family prepare for winter

A Banbury family living with a range of health complaints have had a helping hand getting their house warm in time for winter.

Published: Tuesday, 19th November 2019

Zulfiqar Ali and his family were worried about the onset of winter when their boiler stopped working. They were left without heating and hot water as the nights drew in. As the boiler was up in the loft it was difficult for Mr Ali, who is on income support while he recovers from cancer, to access and check. 
Last month, he contacted Cherwell District Council’s housing team for help, and was told that he could apply for a Healthy Homes Grant. The scheme helps owner-occupiers with long-term health conditions repair or improve their homes. 
Mr Ali said: “I have health issues which makes it very hard living in a cold home. When the boiler stopped working I tried to get it fixed but it was no good. I was worried for my family with winter coming so I emailed the council for help.”
Mrs Ali suffers from arthritis and diabetes which also make her vulnerable to the cold. Earlier this month the council’s contractors attended to replace the faulty boiler, along with two broken radiators. The new boiler is located in a bathroom cupboard, which is much easier to check and adjust.
Mr Ali added: “Now my family are nice and warm again. It was very easy and with no cost so I would encourage others to apply.”
Gillian Douglas, Cherwell’s assistant director for housing, said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to help Mr Ali and his family. Spending winter in a cold home is unpleasant for anyone, but particularly for people who have serious health problems.
“I would urge anyone living with a long-term health condition or disability to get in touch if their home needs improvements to help them get through winter.”
To facilitate the upgrade at the 1930s Ruscote terraced house, the council sought quotes from local contractors. People who are eligible for the grants scheme can apply, with the support of their GP or health professional, for up to £5,000 to help them recover from a health complaint or to prevent it getting worse. 
Homeowners who are struggling to pay for essential repairs can also consider applying for Cherwell’s Essential Repairs Grant or its home improvement loans. 
To find out more about grants for homeowners, search for “grants and assistance” at