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Support & Progression Assistant Hala Alasaly was presented with a national ‘Heat Hero’ award in recognition of her outstanding work in tacking fuel poverty.

The Heat Heroes awards are held to recognise the achievements of those who have gone above and beyond in their work to help keep people warm in their homes. They are run by charity National Energy Action and supported by the four Gas Distribution Networks – SGN, Cadent, Wales and West Utilities and Northern Gas Networks.

Hala fought off stiff competition to be chosen as one of only fourteen Heat Heroes nationwide. Hala worked with over 100 families within the resettlement programme to help them manage their energy usage and bills to ensure they are warm and healthy.

She started working for YHN’s Refugee Move-On team in January 2018 and helps resettled families overcome some of the challenges they face when coming to live in the UK.

She initially worked with YHN’s Support & Progression team in 2015 when she joined YHN’s ‘Your Homes Your Jobs’ programme and assisted in interpreting during the arrival of the first Syrian families in Newcastle as part of the Syrian vulnerable person resettlement programme (VPRS).

She said: “I never expected I would ever receive an award. I was so delighted when I found out. I love supporting people and going the extra mile to help because I’m really passionate about my job and helping people when they need it.”

Adam Scorer, Chief Executive of NEA said: “Across the country our Heat Heroes are working day in, day out to make a difference to those living in fuel poverty. For some, that’s by providing direct advice to householders in need. For others, it’s being the driving force behind projects that help tackle cold homes, or ensuring fuel poverty outcomes are adopted at strategic level. All of them are making people’s lives better and healthier”.

“It has been a privilege to meet Hala and learn more about her work, and I commend her commitment to bringing affordable warmth for all”.

Tom Bell, Head of Social Strategy at Northern Gas Networks, said: “Fuel poverty is one of the most pressing issues in our region, with the North East of England recording the highest number of households with lived experience of fuel poverty, with more than 13 percent of households struggling to keep their homes warm; particularly during the colder months.

“As the North of England’s gas distributer, and a company that’s embedded in the heart of the region, we feel it’s our duty to support communities and individuals facing difficulties, such as fuel poverty and associated forms of vulnerability.  We’re proud to deliver a wide range of support to enable people to access affordable warmth, alongside our expert partners who help us to help us reach those most in need.

“We’re delighted to be able to support National Energy Action’s Heat Heroes, and recognise the important work of incredible individuals who are making a real and lasting difference to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of those living in poorly heated homes.”