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Innovative community programme helps more than one million people fight fuel poverty

  • British Gas and National Energy Action have worked with 300 partners including 29 Local Authorities to help tackle fuel poverty.
  • 10,000 householders across communities have benefited. 
  • Fuel poverty advice will reach more than a million people this year, and 3 million by 2020.

Thousands of households have been helped by an innovative community scheme to tackle fuel poverty, according to a new report published today by British Gas and the charity National Energy Action (NEA). 

The Community Action Partnership launched in 2014 as the first nationwide grass roots initiative to support people struggling to heat their homes, and to provide specialist training to front line workers enabling them to help people save energy and keep their homes warm. 

The two-year project, led by British Gas and NEA, centred on eight locations across England and Wales, providing support where it was most needed. It involved local authorities, councils and other organisations such as NHS trusts, and Fire and Rescue Services.  

The Community Action Partnership Impact Report estimates that the scheme will reach around a million people this year, rising to more than three million people by 2020, thanks to its innovative training programme and community advice sessions.

The report also highlights that more than 80% of people helped would use the information to save energy and keep warm, while 75% of people said they would be better able to control how much gas and electricity they use at home.

As part of the initiative, more than 1,600 front line workers learnt how to identify people who faced difficulties in heating their home, and how to provide practical advice and support. The findings show that as a result of the training, almost all the workers are now able to incorporate fuel poverty and energy efficiency advice into their existing services, while more than 8 in 10 report that they would be able to recognise households at risk of fuel poverty.

One of the most far-reaching Community Action Partnerships was held in Northamptonshire, where the county council arranged for 229 frontline workers to be trained to spot the signs of residents at risk. It created a multi-partner referral system, including the local fire service which is expected to help more than 40,000 households across the county each year.  

As part of the legacy of the Community Action Partnership, British Gas and NEA have launched a new online research hub offering advice and free downloadable starter kits to help organisations plan, develop and deliver their own community activities to help combat fuel poverty.  

Maria Wardrobe, Director of External Affairs at the NEA said: “When we embarked on this programme with British Gas I don't think we envisaged the immense impact it would have.  The key to its success is responding to the needs of individual communities, we know a one size fits all approach does not work. I hope other areas across the country find the resources we have developed helpful in replicating the success we have had to date. We look forward to continuing to work with British Gas to build on the legacy of the Partnership.”

Sarwjit Sambhi, Managing Director of UK Home at British Gas said, “Over the last two years we’ve worked in partnership with the NEA to help communities in need across Britain.

“Our community action partnership has made a real difference to the lives of low income households, and we’ve helped people to keep warm and save energy. Our work in communities means more local organisations are able to help people who are worried about heating their homes.

“We’re committed to supporting the communities we serve and to playing our part in the effort to address fuel poverty.” 


ENDS


Notes to editors

National Energy Action (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. For more information on NEA visit www.nea.org.uk.

For more information on the Community Action Partnership visit http://www.nea.org.uk/projects/community-action-partnership.


For more information contact:

Leonie Edwards
Head of Regional PR
British Gas
01784 84 3000
07979 566 334
leonie.edwards@britishgas.co.uk

British Gas is Britain’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 British businesses. British Gas provides value for money, dedicated customer service, innovative energy solutions and the highest quality Homes Services expertise in the country. Find out more at www.britishgas.co.uk.


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