Supporting Kent households living in fuel poverty
Our project at a glance
- Strategic priority area: Targeting geographic communities most at risk of fuel poverty
- Support target: 450 households per year
- Duration: April 2023 to April 2025
- Investment: £62,975 over two years
- Forecast SROI: £6.42
Why we’re working together
Working with our data and insight partner Energy Savings Trust, we understood that areas in coastal Kent (Medway, Thanet and Folkstone) had a significantly higher than the national average number of older people, indicators of financial vulnerability, and instances of fuel poverty resulting in poor
health and digital exclusion rates.
In response, we partnered with local charity Groundwork South to develop a two-year programme to help vulnerable households in coastal Kent keep a safe and warm home for less with bespoke energy advice and support.
Following the overwhelming success of our first two-year programme in coastal Kent, we’ve developed a new programme with Groundwork South to support another 1,100 households across Kent between 2023 and 2025.
While we had initially identified coastal Kent as an area of greatest need, further data released by UK Government in 2022 highlighted that all Kent districts had seen an increase in fuel poverty since 2019. Areas inland, not previously covered by our programme, had experienced worrying rises in fuel poverty. For example, in Canterbury, the number of fuel poor households rose by 25.2% between 2019 and 2022.
Our expanded programme sees us cover a larger area of Kent, as well as adapt our support to meet the increased need of households in extreme fuel poverty in the region. We’re providing vulnerable Kent households with utility advice and gas safety information, helping households to better manage their energy bills and supporting people to access additional support to maximise their household income.
- Upskilling Groundwork energy advisers to confidently provide CO and gas safety advice
- Identifying low-income households in Kent to benefit from energy safeguarding and financial resilience support
How we’re working together
One-to-one energy consultations
The Groundwork Green Doctors carry out free consultations both over the phone and in person to help Kent residents stay warm at home and save money on energy bills. We’ve upskilled Groundwork’s energy advisers to provide vulnerable households with CO and gas safety advice alongside energy efficiency measures, so the Green Doctors now provide vulnerable households with information about the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to reduce their risk of CO harm.
Community outreach sessions
Groundwork also delivers pop-up community events to provide energy advice in locations where people go to be warm, such as libraries, healthcare settings and Men in Sheds groups. This has proven to be an effective way of reaching our target communities, as we’re not relying on people to come to us for help, we’re proactively going to them.
Holistic utility advice
We’re co-funding this programme with energy sector partners Energy Redress, British Gas Energy Trust and Energy Outreach Project to provide a holistic approach, which encompasses gas safety and promoting access to the Priority Services Register, as well as providing critical help to those struggling to afford energy and water bills.
How to get involved
Accessing the Green Doctor service
If you work with a household in Kent that could benefit from the Groundwork Green Doctor service, you can refer the individual to Groundwork by calling the organisation directly on 0800 233 5255 or by completing the online referral form.
If you live in Kent and would like a free telephone consultation with a Green Doctor, you can register on the Groundwork website.
Hosting a Green Doctor community event
If you would like to arrange a pop-up energy advice session for your community group, you can contact the Groundwork team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find out more about other ways to work with Groundwork in Kent and Medway by visiting the Groundwork South website.
Through our partnership, we have been able to learn and develop a holistic advice approach which encompasses gas safety, energy saving and water bill advice. In addition to this, we also refer into other services providing support to access food, wellbeing and mental health support. This holistic approach has allowed us to reach and help more people and cross-refer to other services to make a greater impact.