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New energy partnership to help keep Cardiff homes warm this winter

Residents in Cardiff could benefit from warmer homes and help with their energy bills this winter thanks to a new partnership launched today (26 January) to help beat fuel poverty in the city.

Fuel poverty charity National Energy Action Cymru and British Gas have teamed up with Cardiff Council to launch the Community Action Partnership (CAP), as part of a £1.2 million community investment programme across the UK.

Running until March 2016, Cardiff is one of eight areas of the UK chosen to deliver the Community Action Partnership to promote energy efficiency and improve lives through local support. Projects are being developed across the city to help raise awareness of the help available for those in fuel poverty, which affects 30 per cent of households in Wales.

The event was launched today at a ‘financial fitness’ event at the Ely & Caerau Community Hub, run by Action in Caerau and Ely (ACE), which has teamed up with the Community Action Partnership. At the event, local people received information and advice on energy efficiency, budgeting and household finances.

NEA is the national charity which aims to eradicate fuel poverty and campaigns for greater investment in energy efficiency to help those who are poor and vulnerable.

Carole Morgan-Jones, Director, NEA Cymru said: “We estimate that approximately 42,000 households in Cardiff are experiencing fuel poverty. Tackling fuel poverty in a joined up way can bring multiple benefits to Cardiff by providing residents with warm homes and an improved quality of life."

Activity taking place in the coming months in Cardiff will include training for frontline staff who regularly work with householders and families to identify anyone who is in fuel poverty. These will include housing support officers, foodbank volunteers, and health trust practitioners.

People in rented accommodation will also benefit as landlords and letting agents will be trained to help them understand the impact of fuel poverty on their tenants. They will also be trained on what help is available for renters as well as how to make sure homes are as energy efficient and warm as possible for their tenants.

Cardiff councillors will also receive specialist training so they can help their constituents to get help and support with paying energy bills, insulating their homes and being energy efficient.

Cllr Ramesh Patel, Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability said: “Fuel poverty is a serious concern for many households, not just in Cardiff but nationally as well. It’s an issue that can effect people of all ages and its important that as a council we work with other organisations to put measures in place to help residents.

“I would also encourage residents to also find out about Cyd Cymru, a scheme we launched in 2013, alongside the Vale of Glamorgan council and supported by the Welsh Government. The scheme aims to get as many people as possible buying their energy collectively in order to negotiate better energy deals from energy suppliers.

“Last year the power of collective energy buying saved over 1,500 households an average of £185 on their energy bills and the more people who register, the bigger the savings will be.”

The programme is being funded British Gas which has worked with National Energy Action for more than 30 years on a number of programmes to support people out of fuel poverty and promote energy efficiency.

Christine Tate, Head of Corporate Responsibility at British Gas, said: "This partnership will mean more help for more people, when they need it most. Frontline community groups will be able to identify people in fuel poverty quickly and refer them for immediate help. Residents in rented accommodation and their landlords will gain a better understanding of how energy efficiency can reduce bills and make homes warmer."

British Gas is the UK's leading energy supplier, and serves around 11 million homes in Britain –nearly half the country's homes – as well as providing energy to around half a million UK businesses. British Gas provides value for money, dedicated customer service, innovative energy solutions and the highest quality Home Services expertise in the country. Find out more at www.britishgas.co.uk.


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