Affordable Warmth Networks

Affordable Warmth Networks

We can set up and manage an Affordable Warmth Network across a designated area. A network will bring together all the partners and provide training for staff who are in direct contact with vulnerable residents, This will enable them to promote the help available and tackle fuel poverty.

The most recent official Government statistics (based on 2014 data and released in June 2016) put the number of households living in fuel poverty in England at 2.38 million, which is approximately 10.6% of all households and represents an increase from 2.35 million in 2013 (a change of around 1.4%). The percentages are higher in other parts of the UK - Northern Ireland (42%), Scotland (35%) and Wales (30%). Many people in fuel poor households are vulnerable, because of their age or health. 

Do you have a robust strategy for meeting your Affordable Warmth targets?

We can help you:

  • Develop, write and implement an Affordable Warmth strategy, so that you can tackle fuel poverty and improve health and wellbeing.
  • Set up and manage an Affordable Warmth network. This can be supported by a freephone helpline providing one-stop advice to residents, especially those likely to be struggling with rising energy bills, or those vulnerable to the cold. Advice is given on issues such as: grants, insulation, energy bills, fuel debt, switching energy supplier or tariff, staying warm and well over winter and how to be more energy efficient. The helpline also provides onward referral to other partner organisations to access their particular assistance and expertise.

We have extensive experience of setting up and managing Affordable Warmth Networks, based on three primary elements:

  • Impartial and expert advice on all issues surrounding Affordable Warmth.
  • Outreach activity. Engaging with the public on keeping warm and well. This includes delivering talks to lunch clubs, single parent groups, carers meetings (including Alzheimer’s and dementia cafes), retirement or 50+ groups etc; and attending events such as Information days, health and wellbeing fairs, flu clinics and electric blanket testing days.
  • Training to front-line staff on the importance of affordable warmth, the dangers of fuel poverty and of living in a cold home, the signs to look out for and the help available to alleviate the underlying problems. In the past, we've delivered training to occupational therapists, district nurses, reception and housing staff and tenant engagement officers in housing associations, so that the message can be spread to as many people as possible.

Fuel poverty strategy
To move fuel poverty work forward, it's essential to have a strategy in place. We can work with you to develop a fuel poverty strategy to meet your needs. This will investigate the problems facing your residents, what schemes are already in place and what action should be taken to reduce fuel poverty levels. It will also involve partnership working with other key organisations. Our service will help you:

Build partnerships
We have experience of bringing together potential partners, supporting meetings and facilitating workshops which result in action. Our partners for developing a strategy are active organisations who come into contact with fuel poor residents - for example: local councils, NHS clusters/trusts, fire and rescue services, housing associations, Age UK, Citizens Advice Bureaux and other local organisations.

Increase understanding
A strategy document starts with an overview of fuel poverty, examining national targets and initiatives. It investigates the reasons residents find themselves in fuel poverty in today's society, and the impacts fuel poverty has on the health of those groups of people who are particularly vulnerable. 

Map areas of need
We explore the current levels of fuel poverty in the specific area by looking at the population structure, its housing, the health profile (including excess winter deaths) social issues and employment. This builds a profile of the area, which can be enhanced with a map using GIS (Geographical Information System) software.

Agree an action plan
This details how the strategy aims to tackle fuel poverty, tailored to the specific location. It looks at the factors which cause fuel poverty and need addressing, including: low income, high energy prices, inefficient homes, hard-to-treat properties, and difficulties reaching certain groups. A good strategy ensures that this plan is regularly reviewed and monitored to check the aims and action objectives are being met.

Anticipate change
We can help you create a future-proof strategy, which takes into account the changing fuel poverty climate. 

Fuel poverty training
We also offer fuel poverty training, especially for your front-line staff who are in direct contact with residents either in or at risk of fuel poverty. We train healthcare professionals, social workers and advice agencies, making them more alert to the signs and consequences of fuel poverty, and more able to refer residents most in need. Local maps can be provided to highlight areas where fuel poverty is at its highest, so that you can target your efforts to the greatest benefit of residents.

What people say about this service

Great value and high customer service standards separate the NEF Affordable Warmth service from other market offerings.

Rob Smart, Sustainability Officer, Aylesbury Vale District Council

www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk

Four Housing

The National Energy Foundation has provided outstanding work through the Affordable Warmth Network it runs for Buckinghamshire.

Jo Faul, Sustainability Officer, South Bucks District Council

www.southbucks.gov.uk

Four Housing

The National Energy Foundation plays a pivotal part in bringing together key organisations to form the Oxfordshire Affordable Warmth Network, working together to tackle fuel poverty. The Foundation delivers a wide variety of services, including presentations to community groups, attending outreach events and flu vaccinations clinics, training front-line council staff and, above all, a free telephone advice line. The Affordable Warmth Helpline offers free and impartial advice on all aspects of saving energy and managing fuel bills and, in doing so, provides an invaluable service to vulnerable residents. It's a huge help to me on a daily basis to be able to refer residents to a single point of contact which I am confident will deal with queries comprehensively and provide excellent customer service.

Cynthia Sullivan, Energy Officer, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils

www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk

Four Housing