Safe and Warm Community Scheme

Centre for Sustainable Energy

Empowering grassroots organisations to lift communities out of fuel poverty

Our project at a glance

  • Priority need group: Financially vulnerable people
  • Strategic priority area: Targeting geographic communities at risk of fuel poverty
  • Support target: 7,000 households
  • Duration: November 2022 to January 2024
  • Investment: £700,000 over 15 months
  • Forecast SROI: £0.41

Most of our clients are on low incomes and feeling the cost-of-living rises very acutely. As well as experiencing energy and food poverty, digital poverty underpins their challenges in finding accurate energy information and maximising their income to help offset the price rises. You are enabling us to reach people who often don’t present at traditional support sites – such as foodbanks – because of the associated shame linked to poverty.

Liz Crew

Liz Crew, Chief Operations Officer/Director, TechResort

Why we’re working together

It’s not always easy to talk to a stranger about energy or money issues. Many people don’t feel comfortable seeking help from mainstream sources such as government organisations, instead preferring to turn to trusted local or need-specific grassroots organisations such as addiction support groups, faith groups or play centres.

Often these small organisations don’t have the capacity or skills to support their service users with energy or financial issues, and they find it difficult to access potential funding streams – like the VCMA – to meet the community need.

By partnering with the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) to deliver our Safe and Warm Community Scheme, we’re able to help grassroots organisations supporting financially vulnerable communities with both funding and skills to provide energy advice and energy safeguarding services.

Project objectives

  • Upskilling grassroots organisations to broaden their energy safeguarding and financial resilience support services
  • Reaching vulnerable people who would benefit from energy support schemes including the Priority Services Register (PSR)
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Two representatives of Tech Resort standing behind desks at an event

How we're working together

Energy safeguarding funding for grassroots organisations

Our Safe and Warm Community Scheme enables smaller organisations to access VCMA funding and skills that can help them lift hard-to-reach households out of fuel poverty and provide energy safeguarding support. In addition to identifying small organisations that are well placed to support communities, the CSE helps these organisations with the initial funding application and project implementation.

Upskilling grassroots organisations to expand support services

Following training from CSE and our CO training partner Gas Safety Charity, grassroots organisations can help eligible customers register their households for the PSR, offer energy advice, raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide, help with benefit checks and debt support, and provide emergency support by linking in vulnerable households to expert services where required.

How to get involved

If you represent a smaller charitable organisation based in Scotland or the south of England and would like to access training and resources to support your community, you can register your interest with CSE.

You can download the CSE Winter Care Leaflet.

The CSE website also offers advice on how to help your community save money on energy bills and make their homes warmer, as well as downloadable home energy fact sheets.

Small, local organisations are often best placed to give help to people struggling to get by, but providing good advice about things like grants, benefits and changes in energy behaviour can be daunting. The support package from SGN means these organisations can access training and resources from CSE to give them the skills to provide exactly this sort of support, together with help from our team and SGN to access funds to cover their costs.

Janine Michael

Interim Deputy Chief Executive, Centre for Sustainable Energy