Energy safeguarding for older people

Age Cymru, Age Scotland and Age UK

Helping older people nationwide live in safe and warm homes

Our project at a glance

  • Priority need group: Older people
  • Strategic priority area: Supporting priority vulnerability groups
  • Support target: 250,000 households per year
  • Duration: February 2023 to March 2026
  • Investment: £2,295,020 over three years 
  • Forecast SROI: £26.10

Given current cost of living pressures, it’s vital that people know where to turn for help and advice and are claiming the support they are entitled to. The demand for advice and support has never been greater, and we know this partnership has made a real difference to the lives of older people across Scotland.

Mark O’Donnell

Chief Executive, Age Scotland

Why we’re working together

Older people are particularly at risk of fuel poverty. Older people spend more time at home and often need to consume more energy to keep warm. They’re more vulnerable to the impact of living in a cold or damp home, yet they’re less likely to live in an energy-efficient home, have their gas appliances routinely serviced or be aware of energy support schemes. 

Even before the cost-of-living crisis, around 1 million older people were already living in fuel poverty. In January 2022, Age UK research predicted that rising energy costs could push a further 150,000 into fuel poverty in the following months.  

By joining forces with Age Cymru, Age Scotland, Age UK and the other gas networks, we’re able to help lift older people across England, Scotland and Wales out of fuel poverty. 

Together as Britain’s four gas networks, we’re supporting older people nationwide to maintain a safe and warm home with a focus on helping them with trusted information on benefits entitlement, energy matters including current energy support schemes and access to safeguarding services including the Priority Services Register.

Project objectives

  • Providing energy safeguarding services to 200,000 people nationwide
  • Providing older people with support, companionship and energy advice through the charities’ advice lines
  • Increasing carbon monoxide awareness among older people
  • Developing and delivering a bespoke training programme to help frontline engineers identify and refer vulnerable older people for support

How we’re working together

Dedicated energy safeguarding services for older people

We’ve set up dedicated teams at all three organisations to help older people address the underlying causes of fuel poverty and make sure that older people are aware of the help that’s designed to help to keep them safe and warm. Trained advisers are on hand to help older people sign up for the Priority Services Register, increase their household income through benefit checks and provide access to information packs on how to improve their home energy efficiency and raise awareness of carbon monoxide.

As well as providing one-on-one advice, we're also distributing energy information guides to a further 100,000 older people with details on financial support and ways to reduce energy costs. There is also a small crisis fund that's there to help older people in energy crisis. 

Financial resilience workshops

Reflecting the challenging financial times, we’re delivering workshops focused on income maximisation and financial resilience in some of the most vulnerable areas of Scotland and Wales where there is high rates of fuel poverty and digital exclusion. These workshops cover key support services including how to access the Priority Services Register, energy efficiency advise and support with benefits checks to increase household income.  

Employee training

Together with Age Cymru, Age Scotland and Age UK, we’ve developed bespoke training for our frontline engineers and customer service team advisers across the four networks on how to identify and engage vulnerable older people in need of support. 

How to get involved

Accessing the energy safeguarding service

If you, or an older person you know, needs support with energy matters, you can find more information on the Age Cymru, Age Scotland and Age UK websites. You’ll also find details of how you can speak to a dedicated energy adviser at each of the charity’s helplines. 

Becoming a partner

You can find out more about how your organisation could work in partnership to support older people in your region by visiting the Age Cymru, Age Scotland and Age UK websites. 

This winter 9.6 million older people were worried about affording to heat their homes. Thanks to GDN funding, Age UK is helping thousands of vulnerable older people access unclaimed welfare benefits to help with energy costs.

Hannorah Lee

Director of Partnerships, Age UK