This project is to hold regular weekly or bi weekly energy health check clinics at a medical centre and a community centre in Ore and Central St Leonards, both deprived neighbourhoods in Hastings.
Healthy and More Active Communities
Our focus will be on vulnerable e.g. older people, those with mental and physical disabilities or illness, marginalised or migrant communities, young families, and those on low incomes who are in fuel poverty. We would provide a free bill checking and warm home support service.
The project will save them money by switching suppliers, help with accessing debt relief and other schemes such as the Warm Home discount and fitting soft measures in their homes (LED lights, power down plugs, draft proofing etc). We will also monitor any improvement in mental health and wellbeing as a result of the measures installed. We work closely with our partners CAB and the Seaview Charity for the homeless providing complementary services.
The clinics will be held in Health centre locations, childrens’ centres or community centres so that they are accessible. A regular clinic enables people to visit several times, build trust and access more in-depth advice. We know it can take two to three visits before someone trusts an advisor. In addition to potentially saving 20% (£200) on a combined energy bill, we are also able to sign up residents to the Warm Home Discount ( £140), Priority Register and signpost them to energy saving grants and debt relief schemes. Each satisfied consumer usually refers two to three of their friends.
Better life chances through volunteering
The sessions would be run by volunteer community energy champions and the funding would be used to provide them with comprehensive training in energy bill assessment and energy awareness in the home (to NVQ level 1) and fitting of soft measures. It will also purchase tablet computers to enable champions to carry out home energy visits and capture data for easy transfer to other agencies (e.g CAB, The Winter Home Check Service or the Priority Service Register).
The programme will give the energy champions the chance to gain hands on experience of supporting people to save money while being mentored by trained energy advisers. Each champion will take part in the Big Energy Saving Network as a volunteer and will gain useful work experience to improve their skills and confidence. The experience of helping others to genuinely save money and to access support that they might not otherwise have received is extremely motivating.
This work has been made possible by an Awards for All England, Big Lottery Grant.