British Gas Energy Trust awards financial grants to frontline regional charities helping people overcome fuel poverty and energy debt
British Gas Energy Trust has today confirmed it will provide financial grants to nine regional energy and money consumer advice charities as part of its Covid Response Fund, announced in July 2020. The grants will assist these charities with their community focused efforts over the winter period in giving invaluable support to people impacted by fuel poverty and energy debt as a result of the pandemic. A total of £750K has been allocated to these charities and it is hoped activities will support over 5,000 of the most vulnerable, fuel poor households during this critical time.
The charities to receive grants are –
- Citizens Advice Rossendale & Hyndburn and Citizens Advice Blackpool with “Debt Recovery: A COVID Response”: £89,353
- Dundee Citizens Advice Bureau with “Dundee Financial Wellbeing Project”: £39,833
- South East London Community Energy (SELCE) working with CA Lewisham, Charlton Athletic Community Trust & Groundwork London to deliver “Empowering Residents To Manage Fuel Debt In South East London”: £149,802
- Groundwork North Yorkshire with “Green Doctor Energy Advice Service Hull”: £40,000
- Citizens Advice Sandwell & Walsall partnering with Staffordshire North and Stoke Citizens Advice Bureaux to deliver: “Keeping Vulnerable Groups Warm And Building Resilience In The West Midlands”: £89,931
- Money A+E working with Fair Money Advice & SHINE London, to deliver “Money In The Community”: £180,000
- Citizens Advice Sunderland, CA Hartlepool and CA Middlesbrough with “Money Matters North East”. £90,000
- Hastings Advice & Representation Centre working with Energise South Coast with “Welfare, Benefits & Energy Advice”: £40,000
- Zinthiya Trust delivering the “Zinthiya Trust Crisis Support Project”: £39,403
The purpose of the Covid Response Fund programme is to provide financial support to frontline charities that provide advice and assistance to members of the public aimed at reducing and managing debt, maximising income, reducing fuel poverty, and improving energy efficiency. This includes raising awareness to ensure that those in need are made aware of and can access the help available from the nine projects.
Helen Charlton, Chair of British Gas Energy Trust: “It’s been crucial to ensure frontline money and energy advice organisations receive additional funding to support their work this Autumn, as the longer-term effects of the pandemic, and winter fuel costs, begin to take hold. Many vulnerable households are facing a financial precipice, these new grants will ensure additional money & energy advice is available to support individuals and families in some of the worse hit areas”
The nine charitable organisations will cover communities in Inner & East London (Barking & Dagenham, Haringey, Islington, Tower Hamlets & Newham), the North East (Middlesbrough, Hartlepool & Sunderland), the North West (Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Hyndburn), Scotland (Dundee), the South East (Hastings), and South London (Croydon, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham & Southwark).
The projects will run from October 2020 until Summer 2021. Grants are awarded immediately to enable all organisations to commence activities.
The Covid Response Fund builds on the funding that is already supporting an additional 17 fuel and money advice projects across England, Scotland & Wales. The publication of the Trust’s Impact Report 2020 today, helps shine a light on the positive impact of funding within the heart of communities across Engand, Scotland and Wales.
The Covid Response Fund was designed to support charities that operate in areas of the UK identified by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) as being most impacted by COVID-19 and having the highest levels of unmet resource for providing fuel poverty and energy debt advice to its local communities. To identify the areas hit hardest the Board commissioned a mapping exercise, the subsequent Advice Need Index was created by CSE who evaluated the prevalence of a number of risk factors, current advice resource and other indicators such as the Indexes of Multiple Deprivation, the resulting index suggested Advice Need areas with a greater vulnerability to the impacts of COVID-19, lower financial resilience and higher fuel bills. Based on the analysis the Trustees made the decision to create the £800,000 Covid Response Fund, with the funding being targeted at smaller front line charitable advice providers, operating within the 9 identified areas with the highest need and lowest advice interventions.
The nine projects will foster individual skills, capabilities & competencies so people can build financial stability and thrive; and help people in financial hardship meet their energy needs, manage their energy costs and avoid the burden of energy debt, whilst informing their energy decisions and supporting choice in a changing world.
All the projects will help people in financial hardship save money on their fuel bills by ensuring they are getting the best energy deals, address high outgoings bills and avoid debts, deal with debt and fuel repayments, gain access to energy efficiency measures through partners and help improve their homes, making them warmer and healthier.