Voluntary Norfolk awarded £20,000 grant to fight fuel poverty

Staff & volunteers from three Voluntary Norfolk services will be helping vulnerable, lonely and hard to reach people fight fuel poverty, thanks to a £20,000 grant from UK Power Networks.

UK Power Networks, which distributes electricity across the East of England, London and the South East, has made Voluntary Norfolk its latest Power Partner in a successful scheme that was launched last year.

Staff from our Better Together and Carers Matter Norfolk services and volunteers from our Health & Wellbeing service will be offering fuel efficiency advice for the first time, with the support of the Norfolk Warm Homes Programme. It will train staff and some volunteers to advise ‘hard to reach’ residents they are already in contact with, including those with long term health conditions, the socially isolated and carers.

More than 42,000 households in Norfolk are estimated to have experienced fuel poverty (Norfolk Insights 2017). Vulnerable residents will also be encouraged to sign up for UK Power Networks Priority Services Register which offers extra support in the rare event of a power cut.

The grant was welcomed by Laura Bloomfield, Better Together Service Manager who said: “We are so pleased to receive this grant from Power Partners as it will enable us to build on the advice and support we already offer vulnerable and hard to reach people in Norfolk, many of whom are experiencing fuel poverty due to life challenges such as geographical, emotional or digital isolation, caring responsibilities, low income or health issues.

The energy efficiency advice our staff and volunteers will be offering will form part of our wider package of support, helping people to maximise their income and improve their mental and physical health and wellbeing.”

Kerry Potter, consumer vulnerability manager at UK Power Networks, said: “Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we re-purposed the Power Partners scheme to help the growing number of people are facing the prospect of fuel poverty.

“We understand how, for some, this will be the first time they might need to reach out for support as their financial and social circumstances have recently changed.

“It’s now available to organisations who find new ways to help those facing fuel poverty and the need to go to ‘safe’ community places to get advice and support.

“Many organisations need additional funding to adapt their operation for the current times. Power Partners is about developing partnerships to deliver real help to the local communities we serve.”

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