A local charity has raised nearly double the amount it asked for in an appeal to buy 800 carbon monoxide detectors, thanks to the generosity of businesses across the region.

The Bobby Scheme in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight initially aimed to raise funds to buy 800 carbon monoxide (CO) detectors to be installed in the homes of the elderly and most vulnerable across the area.

But less than a fortnight after launching its appeal to coincide with national Carbon Monoxide Awareness week and Energy UK’s “CO-Be Alarmed” campaign, Theresa Pratt, General Manager of the Bobby Scheme in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, thanked locally based businesses for their overwhelming support.

Donations quickly passed the campaign’s original target thanks to donations, one of the most generous coming from Chandler’s Ford based Ageas Insurance.

Ms Pratt said:

The donation from Ageas Insurance is incredibly generous. This, along with other substantial donations from our supporters, will allow us to install 1,400 CO detectors, almost double our target, in people’s homes over the coming months and potentially save the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society. These donations come at a particularly important time. During the Covid-19 lockdown, the elderly and vulnerable people who are living alone and spending more time indoors are at particular risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from devices such as gas cookers, boilers, wood burners and gas heaters.

Along with other businesses, Ageas has been a long-term supporter of the Bobby Scheme. It sponsors a van for one of the scheme’s teams of mobile fitters to visit homes and carry out full home crime-prevention and safety surveys, give reassurance and fitting security and safety devices where necessary.

Ageas CEO Ant Middle said:

Carbon monoxide is the cause of far too many preventable deaths in the UK and as a provider of home insurance, protecting people in their homes is particularly close to the heart of Ageas. Coming together with other local donors to support this campaign was important to us and we commend the support that the Bobby Scheme provides to the vulnerable in our local community.

The silent killer

Known as the “silent killer”, CO is a colourless, odourless poisonous gas produced when fossil fuels are incompletely burnt. In the home, CO can come from gas cookers and fires, oil and gas boilers and wood burners, putting the life of residents at risk, Fossil fuel burning appliances should be properly maintained and checked, especially if it has not been used for a period.

Homeowners can take steps to help protect against leaks, such as ensuring proper ventilation and routine equipment services, but the presence of a CO detector offers peace of mind that any CO present will be detected and trigger an alarm, saving lives.

At a time when people are required to spend more time at home, particularly the elderly and most vulnerable, and as colder weather arrives, having a CO detector is more important than ever.

Any business or individual interested in sponsoring CO detectors can visit the campaign’s donations page or phone 0300 777 0157.