Highland Affordable Warmth

Changeworks and New Start Highland

Equipping 1,500 Highlands households with life skills to maintain a safe and warm home

Our project at a glance

  • Strategic priority area: Targeting regional communities at risk of fuel poverty
  • Support target: 1,500 households over 2.5 years
  • Duration: September 2021 to March 2024
  • Investment: £294,008 over 2.5 years
  • Forecast SROI: £1.88

Nothing was a bother to the adviser. He was so sympathetic, and I felt so comfortable. I was not heating my home, a bungalow, as much as I should have been because I was worried about the costs. I never had a proper quilt for my bed. Now I have one with the help of your adviser.

Highland Affordable Warmth beneficiary

Why we’re working together

The Highlands has some of the highest fuel poverty rates in the UK – 32% of people are affected.  

Our project with Scotland’s leading environmental charity Changeworks and New Start Highland, an organisation tackling fuel poverty, homelessness and long-term unemployment in the Highlands, targets groups most vulnerable to fuel and food poverty to maximise energy safeguarding impact.

Living in poverty impacts daily life and affording essentials such as energy and food. By delivering a programme that tackles these two issues together, we’re able to effectively connect to the community by offering holistic support.

In remote communities, we’ve found people are particularly keen and willing to share advice and information they perceive as valuable with friends and family. This approach underpins our co-design principles with Highland Affordable Warmth. We’re making sure our practical and relatable advice can be distributed beyond our one-to-one and group sessions and into the community.

Project objectives

  • Educating vulnerable Highlands households on how to affordably and efficiently heat their homes
  • Empowering households to shop within a budget and maintain a healthy balanced diet
  • Raising awareness of carbon monoxide and how to reduce the risk of harm

How we’re working together

Energy efficiency advice

We’re providing Highlands households with advice and support on how to affordably heat their homes and pay energy bills, as well as raising awareness of carbon monoxide. In addition to promoting the health benefits of warmer homes, advisers are also helping eligible households to access the Priority Services Register. 

Tackling food poverty

By teaching households how to use slow cookers as an affordable, efficient and nutritious way of preparing a hot meal, people are no longer choosing to eat cold meals rather than use energy to heat their food. We’re providing slow cookers, recipe books and food awareness courses for service users. 

Enhanced food awareness course

From April 2023, we’re offering an enhanced food awareness course that combines food preparation and hygiene with the UK Government’s Multiply numeracy skills course. It not only teaches participants how to cook healthy and affordable recipes, but also builds confidence with numbers and enables them to gain a qualification. 

How to get involved

Accessing the Highland Affordable Warmth service

If you support a resident in the Highlands who may benefit from the Highland Affordable Warmth service, you can refer them through the Changeworks online referral form

You can also contact the scheme directly if you’re a Highlands resident in need of support. You can refer yourself through the Changeworks website or by calling 0800 870 8800.

Becoming a Highland Affordable Warmth partner

If you’re an organisation supporting Highlands communities and want to know more about partnering with Changeworks and New Start Highland, please email warmth@changeworks.org.uk.

Our strong partnership with SGN has allowed us to provide early intervention energy advice and advocacy to vulnerable people living in the Scottish Highlands, which has been welcomed by both clients and the housing support officers. We now have a renewed and increased focus on Priority Service registrations and CO awareness. We are looking to actively embed the promotion of both of these services and advice across our work area going forward – something that wouldn’t have happened without the support of SGN.

Lisa Bygate

Affordable Warmth Services Team Manager, Changeworks