Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland

Removing barriers to staying safe and warm at home for people with long-term health conditions

Our project at a glance

  • Priority need group: Critically ill people
  • Strategic priority area: Supporting priority vulnerability groups
  • Support target: 26,000 households
  • Duration: March 2022 to August 2026
  • Investment: £597,443 over four years
  • Forecast SROI: £2.60

I can’t thank you enough for calling, this chat is better than being given a million pounds. I was sitting crying before you called as I’m really frightened of what is ahead. I have great family support, but I try to put on a brave face for them. You have managed to make me smile.

ALLIANCE participant

Why we’re working together

People living with long-term health conditions experience a range of challenges when it comes to maintaining a safe and warm home.

The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, also known as ALLIANCE, identified that people living with long-term health conditions may not be aware of energy industry support services such as the Priority Services Register and may also find it challenging to access this information.

ALLIANCE’s Link Worker Programme operates out of 65 GP practices in Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire that serve the most socioeconomically deprived communities in Scotland. By being embedded in GP practices, the Community Link Workers tend to reach individuals that other services find hard to reach.

By partnering with ALLIANCE to provide energy advice through its Link Worker Programme, we’re able to remove some of the barriers to staying safe and warm at home that are faced by people from deprived communities living with long-term health conditions.

Following the success of our 18-month pilot programme in 2022, we’ve extended our support until March 2026. During this time, we’ll support another 25,000 people across Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire.

Project objectives

  • Identifying households eligible for financial support and other energy industry initiatives to improve their household income and living conditions
  • Raising awareness of carbon monoxide among people with long-term health conditions, disabled people and unpaid carers
  • Increasing access to emergency funding and support for people living with long-term conditions
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young man wearing lanyard talking to elderly man and showing him a leaflet

How we’re working together

One-to-one energy advice

Community Link Workers support people to improve their health and wellbeing through better access to information, knowledge and resources.

Through our programme, we’re providing healthcare professionals with the knowledge and skills to speak confidently to vulnerable households about energy efficiency and safeguarding.

As well as helping individuals to register for the PSR, Community Link Workers are also able to provide onward referrals and signposting to organisations and schemes that can support with income maximisation, energy efficiency and overall health and wellbeing activities.

Emergency fuel and food funding

When a Community Link Worker identifies a household in energy crisis, we’re able to provide emergency fuel or food vouchers to help alleviate the immediate hardship the household is facing.

Community outreach

As part of our programme extension, we introduced two new Energy Efficiency Outreach Workers in April 2024. These new outreach workers provide much-needed support to the Community Link Workers, delivering one-to-one and group-based energy advice sessions for vulnerable households and supporting new and existing community groups to provide energy advice too.

Foodbank pilot

In partnership with Trussell Trust, we’ve initiated a new 18-month pilot project to complement our existing programme with ALLIANCE. We’re providing much-needed support to families visiting Trussell Trust foodbanks at five locations in Glasgow, helping households access energy safeguarding support and Community Links Worker services.

How to get involved

Accessing the Community Link Worker service

If you are registered with a GP practice in West Dunbartonshire, then you will be able to access the Link Worker based within your practice. Across Glasgow, Links Workers are based across 52 GP practices at present. You can find out more information about the programme and participating practices on the ALLIANCE website.

Becoming an ALLIANCE partner

The ALLIANCE is the national third-sector intermediary for a range of health and social care organisations. It has a growing membership of over 3,000 national and local third-sector organisations, associates in the statutory and private sectors, disabled people, people living with long-term conditions and unpaid carers. For more details about becoming an ALLIANCE member, visit the ALLIANCE website.

We have a shared ambition with SGN to understand and address the social barriers people face in accessing safe, efficient and affordable energy. This partnership has given Community Links Practitioners the opportunity to offer support and share issues faced to help SGN remove the barriers to people living in a safe and warm home.

Susan Young

Chief Officer – Operations, ALLIANCE