A CONFERENCE on the impact of fuel poverty on health and well-being was held at Craven Arms Community Centre, organised by Shropshire Rural Community Council, a charity helping mitigate the effects of rural isolation and rural poverty across the county.

Guest speakers were Ludlow MP Philip Dunne, Tracy Jackson of Save the Children, Paul Sutton of Connexus Housing, Hugh Strickland of Shropshire RCC, Mervyn Kohler of Age UK, Peter Sumby of the fuel poverty charity NEA and Clive Leworthy of Shropshire Rural Community Council.

Welcoming both fellow speakers and delegates to the event, Shropshire Rural Community Council chairman Hugh Strickland said It was important to have speakers with such expertise.

Guest speakers covered the national and local perspective, looking at issues surrounding fuel poverty and how the problem can be addressed by local groups, national charities and the Government.

“This was a very well organised event with an excellent turnout of interested folk from across the region, representing groups who will benefit from the measures, both local and national, which were openly discussed,” said Ludlow MP Philip Dunne.

With a large proportion of elderly people living in Ludlow and south Shropshire and the recent very cold weather fuel poverty has been of increasing concern especially given the high cost of energy.

The charity Age UK has advised that keeping warm is an important part of staying well and have advised people not to skimp on heating.

Advice from the NHS to people in Ludlow and south Shropshire has been to make sure that homes are kept warm and especially the living room, where they spend most time.

Ludlow MP Philip Dunne is now co-chair of a Parliamentary Group specifically set up to deal with issues related to Rural Affairs including poverty.

There are a range of issues that can make poverty a more serious issue for people living in isolated rural communities and initiatives from organisations like the Churches Together around Ludlow have been looking at ways of trying to help.

Longer distances to services such as attending medical appointments mean higher costs in fuel and public transport