British Gas Energy Trust grant for Green Doctor service to help Hull residents winter fuel poverty

British Gas Energy Trust grant for Green Doctor service to help Hull residents winter fuel poverty

Groundwork Yorkshire has received a financial grant from the British Gas Energy Trust to help its efforts in giving invaluable support to people impacted by fuel poverty and energy debt as a result of the pandemic.

The grant will be used to create the Green Doctor Energy Advice Service in Hull – a team of Groundwork’s expert energy advisors – known as Green Doctors – who will help residents save money, stay warm and improve energy efficiency in the home. This team of dedicated advisors will provide a mix of telephone advice or home advice, where the type of intervention will depend on household preference and local restrictions during the pandemic.

PFH residents can call the advisors if they feel they will be severely impacted by energy bills over the winter.

The advice provided will cover a wide range of energy related issues to help residents tackle rising gas, electric & water bills – such as switching providers, managing energy debt, identifying where money can be saved and help with accessing grants. Advisors can also provide support to access pre-payment meter top ups during a crisis, and will also fit a range of energy saving measures in homes to help residents feel warmer over the winter.

Emily Thompson, Director of Climate Change & Fuel Poverty at Groundwork Yorkshire, said: “Groundwork is privileged to have the support of the British Gas Energy Trust to deliver such an exciting and worthwhile project that will benefit some of our most vulnerable resident’s throughout Hull. The Green Doctor advisors are passionate about delivering home visits, advice calls and community events that will maximise residents’ income through energy advice, whilst improving mental & physical well-being through warmer homes. The communities of Hull will benefit greatly and the uncertainty surrounding fuel poverty & Covid-19 can be alleviated by this project.”

“Being able to deliver our Green Doctor energy advice service in Hull this winter will make a fantastic difference to helping the vulnerable with their energy costs and managing their finances at a time of the year people most struggle. We’re keen to use this funding to establish a service which will be ongoing for households in need in the future.”

Helen Charlton, Chair of British Gas Energy Trust, said: “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 importance of the project stems from the need of the residents. The affordable warmth strategy for this region indicates 13.8% of the population is living in fuel poverty. This figure is likely to increase with COVID-19. The intervention of projects like this will be hugely beneficial for the people of Hull in trying to reduce fuel poverty in this region at a time of increasing hardship due to the impact of COVID-19.

The Green Doctors will provide this service from Autumn 2020 right through until the start of Summer 2021. This timeframe gives the Green Doctors chance for a follow-up call to see the positive impacts of the visits and how the clients have benefited from the service. The delivery of the project will be throughout Hull. This is a delivery span of 20 HU postcodes.

Contact details for people in need of support: / Freephone 0808 168 3567

The British Gas Energy Trust has provided financial grants to nine regional energy and money consumer advice charities as part of its Covid Response Fund, announced in July 2020. The Trustees made the decision to create the £800,000 Covid Response Fund, targeted at smaller front line, charitable advice providers, in order to support households in areas of the UK identified by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) as being most impacted by COVID and having the highest levels of unmet resource for providing fuel poverty and energy debt advice to its local communities.

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.