Express & Star

Charity gets funding boost to help people dealing with fuel poverty

A Black Country charity working to support vulnerable families with fuel poverty has received a funding boost.

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Citizens Advice Sandwell and Walsall has received a grant of more than £382,000 to help support people in fuel poverty over the next two years.

The grant from British Gas Energy Trust will help fund the organisation’s work to support people across the Midlands with free and confidential advice and support with debt and energy related issues.

Over the last two decades, the trust, solely funded by British Gas, has helped millions of people in fuel debt with community-based money and energy advice, energy debt grants and emergency fuel vouchers, with a total investment of £200 million.

The Trust Funded Projects Programme SCARP (Supporting Communities at Risk Programme) funds charities across England, Scotland, and Wales, who offer a holistic approach to fuel poverty, treating not only the symptoms but causes that often create a cycle of fuel deprivation.

The funding was awarded following a nationwide mapping exercise which identified organisations that are best placed to help people avoid the burden of energy debt and a total of 38 organisations across the UK have been awarded grants this year, worth a combined total of £13 million.

Jessica Taplin, CEO of the trust, said: “I am thrilled that the trust can continue this critical support across Britain.

"With this funding commitment of £13m over the next two years an estimated 35,000 people across Britain will have access to these key frontline services in the heart of their community, with 60 per cent of people receiving critical in-depth support they need.

“Our funded money and energy advice services will provide advice and support that address root causes of fuel poverty such as poor money management and home energy inefficiency."

Helen Charlton, chair of the British Gas Energy Trust Board, said: “Our trust-funded projects are a necessity in communities up and down the country and I have witnessed first-hand the impact of these services, and I know they can have life-changing effects they can have on people affected by fuel poverty.

“This funding will enable these money and energy advice services to deliver a significant uplift in activity, including 23,000 income maximisation and benefit checks, as well as 14,000 home energy survey, more education sessions, and more people receiving help with a budget plan, with an increased focus on the holistic support of increasingly complex cases and energy advice."