Helping local communities all over the country
As the UK’s largest energy company, we serve communities up and down the country. And we think it’s vital that we support them too. While we’re a national company, we think locally when it comes to helping these communities thrive.
And to do this, we focus on three key areas:
1. Helping people with their energy today
2. Building a more sustainable energy future for tomorrow
3. Volunteering for and donating to the local communities we work in
1. BGET: Tackling the cost-of-living crisis
Established in 2004 to help tackle fuel poverty, the British Gas Energy Trust (BGET) is an independent charity funded solely by British Gas. It gives financial support and energy advice to people struggling to pay their energy bills in England, Scotland and Wales. And it’s here to help everyone – whether they’re a British Gas customer or not.
BGET manages the British Gas Energy Support Fund. Since 2004, we’ve provided over £130 million to the Trust, which has helped over half a million people. In November 2022, amid the cost-of-living crisis we donated £50 million to help people in financial hardship or energy debt – the UK’s biggest ever energy support package. This is in addition to our contribution to the Warm Home Discount scheme, which at over £40 million is larger than that of any other energy supplier.
We understand that when people are in financial hardship, they may not know where to turn. That’s why BGET teamed up with the Post Office to reach people where they are. We ran over 125 pop-up events in Post Offices all over the country to reach out to people and give help and advice.
As well as directly offering financial advice and giving grants, BGET also funds over 50 frontline money and energy advice charities like Income Max and Citizens Advice that provide free 1-2-1 advice about money, benefits and saving energy.
2. Energy for Tomorrow: supporting sustainable innovation and entrepreneurs
Given the challenge of climate change, we think it’s vital that we help create a more sustainable and inclusive future. That’s why we’ve committed to being a net zero business by 2045 and helping our customers to reach net zero by 2050.
We’ll need innovation, big thinking and new ideas to achieve net zero. That’s why we set up Energy for Tomorrow. Established in 2015, it provides grant funding and expert advice for community initiatives that deliver affordable, accessible and sustainable energy solutions for everyone. Over the last eight years, we’ve awarded £4.3 million in funding to 26 projects and organisations.
All over the country, ideas supported by Energy for Tomorrow are already coming to life and making a difference. We’ve supported everything from a £17 million flexible energy trial of a Local Energy Market in Cornwall to giving almost £400,000 to four Scottish projects tackling climate change. We also helped Liverpool's Flutter Shutter make social housing more energy efficient and The C.H.E.E.S.E. Project to tackle fuel poverty in Bristol and beyond.
And it’s not just about the money. We work closely with all the recipients and offer mentoring and support for all areas of their project. “Honestly, without the mentorship the cash would be nothing,” say Rechelle Davis of Flutter Shutter. “There are so many aspects of the industry that we wouldn’t know without it - it’s pivotal to making us a successful business.
To fund Energy for Tomorrow, in 2011 we installed solar panels on the roofs of 268 schools. By generating their own electricity, these schools were able to cut their energy bills and create revenue. So far, the schools have saved 13,460 tonnes of carbon dioxide and generated over £5.8 million of savings.
Got an idea that you think could be eligible for Energy for Tomorrow support? Get involved! We welcome applications from UK based charities, CICs, registered community groups, not-for-profit and for-profit companies that can demonstrate both a positive environmental and social impact. You’ll also need to have a financially sustainable project plan once the funding has come to an end.
3. The Big Difference: colleague-led support for local communities
In 2022, our three-year charity partnership with Carers UK came to an end, and we decided to shift from a national to a colleague-led local approach to community support in the UK. Meanwhile, Bord Gáis Energy continues to work with Focus Ireland to prevent family homelessness, where we’ve committed €4.4 million.
Today, everyone in the company has the chance to shape where our donations go, and which charities they would like to volunteer and fundraise for. Colleagues also voted on the three themes that the Big Difference focuses on - children and young people, health and poverty.
Last year, we gave £2 million to local causes through donations and matched funding - if a colleague is fundraising for charity, for example by running a marathon or organising an event, we’ll match whatever they raise, up to £500. Each of our offices and field regions has a Local Charity Lead and team. Colleagues apply to them for donations or to top up any personal fundraising, and they decide how to allocate resources.
In early 2023, we ran a campaign offering up to £2,000 to fund sports kit and equipment for local teams in communities and schools. We’ll be opening it up for applications again later in the year too.
And we don’t just offer financial support, we give our time and expertise too. Every person in the company gets two paid days a year to use to volunteer, and we’re committed to encouraging everyone to use them. They don’t need to use them all at once – it could be anything from half an hour a week or an hour a month, to two full days in one go.
Colleagues can choose where they volunteer – it could be a local group or a cause that they care about, or through one of our partners instead. These include:
- Helping disadvantaged children to read with Bookmark
- Promoting greener lifestyles with Groundwork
- Getting to know an older person through AGE UK’s Call in Time programme
We believe that together we really can make a Big Difference and are committed to ensuring our colleagues feel empowered to make the world a better place.