Brighter Futures Project – our new initiative to combat fuel poverty

Thanks to funding from Scottish Power People’s Energy Trust, we are going to be launching a new project to alleviate the pressure of low-income and high costs of living in the South Hams.

The South West and especially the South Hams, has long been known to have a combination of above average house prices and rents, low wages and shortage of full-time secure employment which in turn means that if you live in an insufficiently insulated house, with expensive, inadequate heating systems and high energy bills the costs mount up, causing many residents to suffer real poverty in this otherwise affluent county.

Janie Moor, Citizens Advice South Hams manager, said: “This project is designed to help those most in need to make improvements to their homes and long-term changes to their spending patterns.  We’ll also support landlords to navigate new legislation which is being introduced in 2018 will require landlords to do much more to make sure that energy efficiency standards are up to scratch if they want to rent their properties out – look out for more from us about this in the months ahead.”

Project Lead, Lin Etherden, said: “What the new legislation means for people experiencing fuel poverty in rented accommodation is that whereas before you might just be stuck with it, there is now a unique opportunity to actually do something to tackle the cause of the fuel poverty at its root and without the risk of a retaliatory eviction.”

We will be working in partnership with the Children’s Centres in Totnes, Dartmouth, Ivybridge and Kingsbridge. The Children’s Centres are going to assist us with running events and finding people who are eligible for assistance through the scheme. Dates for these events are to be released in due course so keep an eye out on our website http://southhamscab.org.uk/, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/southhamscab/ and Twitter (@southhamscab) pages.

The programme will provide over 200 householders with a combination of energy efficiency advice and income maximisation, providing tools to make lasting changes that will have an impact beyond the end of the project.

Janie Moor, said: “If you are a landlord or work with people who experience fuel poverty we want to hear from you as well. During the course of this project we will be seeking out groups to deliver presentations to – and from April onwards we will be actively seeking out landlords to help them to prepare for the changes due to come in 2018.”

For every household referred to the project we can:

  1. Undertake an energy efficiency assessment of your home and suggest measures to reduce the cost of your bills . If you are in rented accommodation we will assist you in conversations with your landlord or letting agency to introduce efficiency measures that will become a legal requirement for them to provide in 2018.
  2. Look at your fuel bills and energy consumption to see if you can save money by switching to another supplier – people often save hundreds of pounds every year by making such a switch
  3. Check if you are eligible for discounts for your water and other utilities, and assistance with rent/mortgage and council tax payments to make sure you are accessing all the relief that is available to you
  4. Look at your income to see if there are any welfare entitlements you don’t know about or have not claimed.
  5. Review other money going out of your home and help reduce costs, perhaps on bank charges, credit cards and loan fees.

Do you want to know more?

To apply call 03444 111 444 or visit one of our drop-in’s at Follaton, Ivybridge, Kingsbridge or Dartmouth and say you would like help from the “BRIGHTER FUTURES” project.

 

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Note to editors:

  1. Citizens Advice South Hams is an independent charity that helps people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers.  For more information see www.southhamscab.org.uk
  2. The advice we provide is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone.
  3. Most Citizens Advice service staff are trained volunteers
  4. Advice and information is available by calling 03 444 111 444  between 9.00am and 4pm, Monday – Friday
  5. We are open for drop in appointments at our main office: Totnes (Follaton House, Plymouth Road, TQ9 7UY) Monday–Thursday, 10am-1pm and 2-4pm.  And across South Hams:
  • Ivybridge (the Watermark, Mondays) 9.30-12.30pm
  • Kingsbridge (Quay House) Tuesdays 9.30-12.30pm
  • Dartmouth (the Clinic) Tuesdays 9.30-12.30pm

6. Advice and information is available from www.citizensadvice.org.uk

7. Patients at Chillington Health Centre and Woolwell Medical Centre can also access our service through their    GP surgery.

8. Department of Energy and Climate Change statistics found that out of the 38,772 households in the South Hams 4,711 were experiencing fuel poverty (12.2%). Some parts of the South Hams           show fuel poverty at 16% or more, putting them in the highest 10% of England.