Len dances in to spearhead campaign

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A third of Britons don’t speak to their elderly relatives in a typical week as over one in five admit to seeing them less, new poll reveals.

TV judge Len Goodman spearheads EDF Energy campaign to encourage family members to take advantage of the help on offer for elderly people this winter -

A third of Britons admit to not usually speaking to their elderly relatives on a weekly basis, even though just over a fifth of people are now seeing older members of their family less compared to five years ago, a new poll commissioned by EDF Energy has revealed.

Regionally, the YouGov poll found only 39% of people in the East of England spoke to elderly relatives on a weekly basis, just 4% of people in the East of England spoke to elderly relatives four to six times a week with 34% not calling at all during the week. Just over one in five (21%) admitted seeing elderly relatives less than they did five years ago, blaming work commitments, living further away and advances in technology which mean it’s easier to stay in touch via phone or computer.*

The findings come as EDF Energy launches its Safe, Warm and Well campaign with Len Goodman, which is encouraging people to ensure their elderly relatives are taking advantage of all the financial help and practical support available this winter – even if they struggle to see them on a regular basis.

Some of the simple steps people can take on behalf of elderly relatives include:

- Checking to see if they might be entitled to a free boiler repair or replacement, free loft and cavity insulation through the EDF Energy Affordable Warmth Programme. This could help to bring down their energy bills.

- Check that they’re on the cheapest tariff and payment method to suit their needs. Older people are often the most reluctant to switch supplier which is why last year, it became the first energy and only supplier to ensure EDF Energy’s most vulnerable elderly customers automatically benefited from its cheapest tariff price. 120,000 customers have already benefited from this.

- Checking relatives are not missing out on benefits which could help them pay their energy bills. Up to £5.5 billion of Pension Credit, Housing and Council Tax Benefit is being left unclaimed each year by pensioners. It’s easy for pensioners to find out if they are eligible by calling the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234.

Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman, who is spearheading the campaign, said: “We all know there are time pressures which can take over, whether it is work commitments or just the pure distance, but we mustn’t forget our elderly relatives this winter.

“It’s important that we share the correct information to ensure they’re making the right decisions when it comes to heating their homes. EDF Energy’s Safe, Warm and Well campaign aims to make those living in difficult financial situations aware of practical help available. It’s all about highlighting the simple changes they can make around the home to stay warm and cut back on their household energy costs.”

Nationally nearly a half (46%) of people who admitted seeing elderly relatives less than they did five years ago said it was because they were now living further away, almost a third (32%) said it was down to increased work commitments, and two fifths (40%) said it was due to having less time. Over one in ten (12%) meanwhile said technology – such as Skype and webcams – meant it was easier to stay in touch via phone or computer.

Jo Steven, Energy Policy Manager at EDF Energy, comments, “It’s more important through the winter months that elderly relatives are fully aware of the help and support available to them, including the benefits of initiatives like the Affordable Warmth Scheme. That’s why the annual Safe, Warm and Well campaign was established; to ensure that the most vulnerable are looked after during the coldest months.

“We want to ensure that people have the correct information and are clued up when it comes to the benefits and energy tariffs that are available for our vulnerable customers and are sharing these updates with friends and family, including information on our new Vulnerable Customer Commitment pledge.”

For more information on EDF Energy’s Safe, Warm and Well campaign and to download practical help and advice, please visit: http://www.edfenergy.com/safewarmandwell