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The Mighty Jukebox

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25.09.23 – SOT City Council Fuel Poverty Strategy, Staffordshire Dancing Duo’s

Written by on 24 September 2023

Council leaders have pledged to address fuel poverty in Stoke-on-Trent with the development of a new five-year plan – and want to hear residents’ views.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is developing the 2023-2028 Fuel Poverty Strategy as part of its ongoing commitment to ensure all residents can live in safe and warm homes.

The strategy, which follows the launch of the city council’s ‘help is at hand’ campaign to support residents through the cost of living crisis this winter, comes after Stoke-on-Trent was identified as having the second highest proportion of households living in fuel poverty in England.

According to the government’s sub-regional fuel poverty data 2022, around 25,696 – or 22.1 per cent – of households in Stoke-on-Trent are living in fuel poverty compared with the West Midlands average of 17.8 per cent and the national average of 13.2 per cent.

The government defines a household to be in fuel poverty if they are living in a property with an energy efficiency rating of band D of below, and when they spend the required amount to heat their home, they are left with a residual income below the official poverty line.

The new draft strategy is proposing to focus on four key objectives:

Helping people to reduce their energy bills;

  • Improving the efficiency of domestic buildings to reduce cold-related illnesses;
  • Maximise household incomes; and
  • Increasing renewable energies to reduce carbon emissions.

Councillor Chris Robinson, cabinet member for housing, said: “Living in a safe and warm home is a basic living standard that should be enjoyed by all of us. Sadly, too many households within our city fall short of this mark and are unable to afford to heat their home to an adequate temperature.

“In recent years, we have made significant investments in our housing stock and we are continuing our work through our recently announced five-year capital investment programme which will see us invest more than £117 million to bring thousands of council-owned properties up to modern day standards.

“Through our Fuel Poverty Strategy, we will continue to work with partners to educate and advise residents about energy use, we will continue to invest in improving the energy efficiency of our housing stock and we will do everything we possibly can to ensure our residents have everything they need to live safe, warm and healthy lives.”

Residents are now being invited to have their say on the draft Fuel Poverty Strategy which is under consultation until Wednesday 25 October 2023.

Councillor Amjid Wazir, cabinet member for environment and enforcement, said: “Providing our residents with healthy, energy efficient and warm homes is one of our top priorities. So we can develop and deliver services that best meet our residents’ needs, we need to understand what is most important to our communities.

“So, I would encourage all residents to feedback on this strategy. Tell us if we’ve got it right and let us know what else we should be doing to help tackle fuel poverty in the city. Only by listening to you and working together can we find a long-term solution to this problem.”

To have your say visit www.stoke.gov.uk/fuelpovertystrategy.

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As the nation prepares itself for Strictly Come Dancing fever, two internationally renowned dancing duos have teamed up for a unique ballroom routine on the most unlikely of dancefloors.

Two fleet-footed backhoe loaders from the legendary JCB Dancing Diggers were joined for a spin in the glitterball limelight by teenage Team GB ballroom dancers Kaynan Barfoot and Polly Welford at the company’s quarry in Staffordshire.

The new one-off dancing partnership was carefully choreographed to celebrate the next career quicksteps to success for Kaynan, 14 of Blythe, near Uttoxeter, and Polly, 15, of Cheadle, Staffordshire.

The Staffordshire-based digger giant has pledged £1,500 sponsorship for the UK Under 14 Ballroom and Latin American champions to enable them to compete at Under 16 level in the World Dutch Open Championships in Assen, The Netherlands in November.

Fresh from a summer which has seen the pair competing at the world-famous Blackpool Tower Ballroom, and winning the English Gala Junior Ballroom championships in Bicester, Kaynan and Polly are training up to 20 hours a week in the run up to the Assen championships.

Kaynan’s mum Gemma Barfoot said: “Kaynan and Polly have been dancing together since they were just seven-years-old and their ambition is to be world champions. They both work so hard and are incredibly grateful to JCB for this support – without their sponsorship they simply wouldn’t be able to compete in Assen.”

To see the JCB Dancing Diggers and Team GB’s Kaynan and Polly’s ballroom dancing debut, find us on Facebook and LinkedIn @JCB or Instagram and X @jcbmachines.

To follow Kaynan and Polly’s dance career progress, visit https://www.facebook.com/pollyandkaynandancers/ while anyone interested in sponsoring them can contact Gemma Barfoot at gemma.barfoot@yahoo.co.uk.