The impact of fuel poverty on hard-up households in east Leeds has been brought into sharp focus by a new photography exhibition in Seacroft.
The exhibition was held at St James’ Church, Seacroft on Sunday, and was put together by campaigners from Leeds Fuel Poverty Action.
They wanted to show how the struggle to keep their homes warm has affected people living in the area and brought them together over the past year.
According to the group, around 60,000 homes in Leeds have felt the pinch of fuel poverty this winter as energy bills continue to rise.
And with many homes in Seacroft and the east of the city among those bearing the brunt, the exhibition aimed to show how the community has united in different ways to champion solutions to the problems in the neighbourhood.
Members of the community were invited to share their personal stories at the launch event, which came fresh of the back of council plans to tackle the fuel poverty crisis.
Last week, the authority’s executive board discussed the establishment of a Green Deal offer in Leeds.
The deal bids to help make energy efficient improvements to homes that have been too difficult or expensive to tackle before.
The Green Deal lets people make energy efficient improvements to their home without any up-front costs.
Residents can instead take out a loan with a Green Deal provider, with the debt paid off through the savings on energy bills.
The council also wants residents to contact Community Energy Direct to sign up to a collective energy buying scheme.
Once signed up, Community Energy Direct and Which? will negotiate an energy price on behalf of residents who can then decide if they want to switch to the new provider.
People can sign up to the Community Energy Direct scheme at www.communityinfo.org or by calling 08454 502 581.
Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said: “When you look at the figures and history of our experience in tackling fuel poverty and cutting emissions, there is a really compelling story to tell.
“Behind these figures are real people who have seen a significant difference made to their health and in their lives by having their home made more energy efficiency or offered advice to reduce their bills and ultimately their emissions.
“The next few years will be critical for us in ensuring the momentum of these successes is maintained.
He added: “We’ve already tackled what is easy to do – like cavity wall and loft insulation – so quite rightly our attention must be focussed on those homes that are harder and more expensive to treat to ensure benefits are felt by all.