Heating engineers rally round to help elderly couple keep warm

Warm-hearted heating engineers rally round. Swindon company Priory Heating show are one of the first in the town to sign up to a new initiative to help the elderly keep warm in winter – after replacing a couple’s broken boiler for free. 

These warm-hearted heating engineers are members of DEPHER (Disabled & Elderly Free Plumbing & Heating Service). DEPHER is a CIC – Community Interest Company. This company works with the elderly and disabled people in the community and offers free or discounted services.  Currently based in Burnley, DEPHER’s vision is to roll out the scheme across the country. The aim being to prevent older people suffering ill health and even death, when they get too cold to heat their homes in the winter. 

The Priory Heating team - warm-hearted heating engineers
Priory Heating Commercial PR shoot taken on Thursday 6th February 2020 by Barbara Leatham Liza Van Zyl, Oli Royall, Melanie Peck, and Ethan, the new apprentice.


Liza Van Zyl, co-founder of Priory Heating said: “As engineers working around the Swindon area, we’re all too aware of the health problems brought about by cold weather

Pensioners having to choose

“We are also well aware that some pensioners try to save money by turning down their heating in cold weather. Too many have to choose between keeping warm and paying other bills on a fixed and limited income.

A few weeks ago, the team visited an elderly couple in Swindon whose boiler had broken down, and they were using electric heaters to heat their home. “What they needed was a new boiler. But affording it was simply out of the question,” Liza said. 

“We did our best to keep them warm in the short term but we knew we had to do something more to help them. We chatted to them about what they needed, and put them at ease saying we would soon have them warm.”

Liza and business partner Oli Royall spoke to their suppliers who replaced the couple’s boiler free of charge. The couple wish to remain anonymous.

A vote of thanks

Oli said: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank our suppliers Baxi and Vaillant for their help. And many thanks to Swindon Plumbing Supplies; Wolseley, Swindon;  City Plumbing, Swindon and Spares Base, Fairford for also helping out.”

Statistics highlight the consequences of these issues. In the winter period of 2018 – 2019 (December to March), there were an estimated 23,300 excess winter deaths in England and Wales.  Of those, 46% were men and 54% women. The latter partly explained by the higher proportion of women aged 90 years and over, compared to men.  (ons.gov.uk)

Founded by Liza van Zyl, Priory Heating have their base in Swindon. Liza is a qualified heating engineer experienced in heating and boiler installations, landlord inspections and all aspects of heating and plumbing services. 

The company is Gas Safe registered and a member of Checkatrade.com. For further information visit https://www.prioryheating.co.uk

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