Today is national Fuel Poverty Awareness Day; an opportunity to focus on the issues faced by those struggling to keep warm and pay their bills, and to highlight the work being done to try and alleviate these problems.
Across Southampton and Hampshire there are an estimated 50,000 households living in fuel poverty*. Fuel poverty is caused by a combination of low household income, inefficient housing and high energy costs. In addition, the majority of these households have young children, an older person or someone with a long-term illness or disability living there**. Fuel poverty can affect the mental and physical health of those living in cold homes and have serious impacts on their quality of life.
We have been working on fuel poverty projects since 2009, here are a few highlights from our work over the past year:
- Provided advice to 1,116 Southampton residents at events or over the phone
- Supported 413 households through home visits or office appointments, between us and our partners Citizens Advice Southampton
- Funded 64 energy efficiency home improvements, at a value of £235,152, including heating upgrades, insulation, glazing and damp treatment
- Distributed 1,337 energy efficiency materials, including draught-proofing and light-bulbs
- Promoted the project to 448 patients attending flu clinics
- Trained 172 front-line staff and volunteers in recognising the signs of fuel poverty
- Helped around 900 households with crisis support, through SCRATCH and SCM Basics Bank
- Spoken to 450 Hampshire residents on the Freephone advice line
- Visited 152 households to provide hand-holding support with heating issues
- Accessed funding for 82 heating improvement measures, at a value of £316,768, including boiler repairs and replacements and first time central heating
- Trained 79 staff in recognising the signs of fuel poverty
Adam Goulden, our Chief Executive says,
“Everyone should be able to live in a warm and comfortable home that does not negatively affect their health and wellbeing. It’s great that we’ve been able to help so many vulnerable residents over the past year, but there is still lots to do to make this a reality for all fuel poor households. We will continue to work with our partners to support those households most in need.”
If you would like to find out more about our projects, or know someone who could benefit from our help, you can call us on Freephone 0800 804 8601 (Mon-Fri 9-5).
*DECC (2014) Sub-regional fuel poverty data: low income high costs indicator **NEA (2016) Fuel Poverty Statistics