- What does the British Gas Energy Trust do?
- Len’s story
- How Citizens Advice could help you
Words: Jason Hesse
Meet Len. Len lives in St Helens, he’s a part-time actor and volunteer in the local community. But when the hot water and heating in his home stopped working, and his kitchen wall got damp, Len didn’t feel like getting out so much. Len spoke to Citizens Advice St Helens, who helped him get a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust to cover the cost of a new boiler, and to get a local firm to fix the damp wall.
Len is just one of the 150,000 people who’ve been helped by an adviser from the British Gas Energy Trust – the independent charity set up in 2004 by British Gas to support people in difficult situations.
Clearly, it worked for Len, but what impact does this funding have on others? What other positive effects are there, and can we measure these as a positive impact on society? It’s all well and good providing £56.4m in funding to individuals, families and other charities, but how much of an impact has this independent charitable trust had in real numbers? Is it making a difference?
Earlier this year, the trust commissioned a report by Oxford Economics to measure the impact the British Gas Energy Trust was having on society as a whole.
One of the most surprising findings from the report was the benefit that came from the Trust’s 50 advisers clearing £5.2m in energy debts. Not only did it help people sort their finances, but their mental health improved too.
The report also showed that once a person’s debts are cleared, or they receive help to get something fixed – such as their heating – their career prospects improve. The study by Oxford Economics estimates that this has saved the Department for Work and Pensions £2.8m in welfare benefits, while 71% of respondents said receiving a grant had a positive effect on their housing stability.
Overall, 7,000 people have received advice on how to reduce debt. And when a cause of worry is taken away, you feel happier at home, more in control and in better health – so you can get out and do the things you want to do.
But this isn’t just a happy story about Len. The hard numbers in the report show just how much of a positive impact the charitable trust has had on people’s day-to-day lives.
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