Warm Winter ahead for little Millie

To mark World Pneumonia Day today (Monday 12 November), npower Health Through Warmth is calling on people in Birmingham to consider the impact of broken or inadequate heating in their homes.

npower Health Through Warmth helps to repair heating systems for people with long term illnesses, such as respiratory problems, and is urging vulnerable people to come forward who may be eligible for help.

Living in a cold home can have a huge impact on health, as the Stokes family from Birmingham found out last winter when two year old Millie Stokes had Pneumonia.

Millie has Down’s Syndrome, meaning her lungs are very sensitive. The family had a partial warm air central heating system which didn’t work properly, meaning the house was cold and there was no hot water. The dust circulated by the system caused Millie repeated chest infections.

During an icy snap last winter, Millie contracted Pneumonia and had to go into hospital. Millie’s mum, Lisa, didn’t want her returning to a cold home and no hot water, which could have put her at risk of further health problems.

After contacting their local Children’s Centre, Millie’s family were referred to the npower Health Through Warmth scheme, which arranged for the installation of a new gas central heating system and secured funding for the work.

A charity for children with Down’s Syndrome and a local charity for disabled people made contributions towards the cost, while the remaining sum was paid from the unique npower Health Through Warmth Crisis Fund.

Lisa Stokes, Millie’s mother, said: “Words cannot express what the npower Health Through Warmth scheme has done for Millie and our whole family. Since the gas central heating system was installed, Millie’s health has improved, her chest infections have reduced dramatically she hasn’t contracted Pneumonia again. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who worked together to come to our aid.”

Elaine Midwinter, npower Health Through Warmth scheme manager, concludes: “We’d like to thank Lisa for speaking about Millie’s experience to help raise awareness of the impact a cold home can have on health, particularly for people with respiratory problems. We are delighted at the difference the improved heating has made to Millie’s health and hope to help more and more people in Birmingham who need assistance with installing or repairing heating systems.”

The npower Health Through Warmth scheme provides assistance with the funding and installation of heating systems for vulnerable people with long term illnesses who cannot afford to fully fund the work themselves. For more information, or to find out if you or someone you know could be eligible for help, visit www.healththroughwarmth.com. For more information about World Pneumonia Day click here.