A COUNCIL is celebrating after its ‘Big Heat’ project, which tackles fuel poverty across the county, has received a national award.

Buckinghamshire County Council is one of only 15 organisations across England and Wales that were successful in applying for the Community Action Awards, which are run by a national fuel poverty charity.

The awards, run by NEA in partnership with the Department of Energy and Climate Change and British Gas, recognise excellence and innovation in the fields of tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency amongst vulnerable households.

The ‘Big Heat’ project is run in partnership with the National Energy Foundation and will support families with young children to lift themselves out of fuel poverty. It will combine the provision of fuel vouchers to help with winter fuel costs along with longer term support to be able to use energy within their homes efficiently, reducing costs and helping them improve budgeting skills.

Representatives from BCC, the National Energy Foundation and other local partners and award scheme judges gathered together at the Castlefield Children’s Centre for a community fun day and award presentation.

Programme officer Tahir Aziz said: "We wanted to celebrate this special occasion with the local families and partners so we hosted an "Information and fun day" for families at the Castlefield Children’s Centre, it was an amazing day; we had over 100 people attend the event. The extra money received by Buckinghamshire County Council for winning the Community Action Award will help support a lot more families to save on their rising energy bills."

Maria Wardrobe, Director of External Affairs at NEA said: "We know that around 15,000 households in Buckinghamshire are estimated to be living in fuel poverty, unable to afford the energy they need to stay warm and healthy in their homes. Community groups and other local organisations play a vital role in helping to identify and assist those who are struggling to heat their homes affordably and I would like to congratulate Buckinghamshire County Council for the excellent work they are undertaking to tackle this problem."

Christine Tate, head of corporate responsibility at British Gas said: "Last year British Gas spent more than £380 million our elderly, disabled and most in need customers. In addition to this direct support for our customers we are pleased to support National Energy Action’s community energy efficiency awards, especially as energy efficiency is the best way customers can keep their homes warmer for less."