Supporting 6,600 people living with a terminal illness with energy safeguards
Our project at a glance
- Partner GDNs: Cadent, Northern Gas Networks, SGN and Wales & West Utilities
- Strategic priority area: Supporting priority vulnerability groups
- Support target: 2,200 households per year
- Duration: December 2022 to October 2025
- Investment: £1,780,825 over three years
- Forecast SROI: £12.16
For me, being able to support people and make them aware of information and services they didn’t know about to help with rising bills is amazing. We’re getting lots of positive feedback from callers too.
Energy Support Officer, Marie Curie
Why we’re working together
Among the groups most vulnerable to the damaging consequence of living in cold homes are older people, those with chronic illnesses or long-term conditions, and people with low or declining incomes.
Many people who are living with a terminal illness fall into several, if not all, of these categories. Their deteriorating health often means spending more to heat their homes, which some struggle to afford due to depleted incomes and significant costs associated with their illness.
After receiving a terminal diagnosis, people shouldn’t have to worry about whether they can afford to keep their home warm.
We’re proudly leading a new collaborative programme with Marie Curie on behalf of the gas networks, which will help people living with any illness they’re likely to die from, and those close to them, make the most of the time they have together rather than spending this precious time worrying about falling into fuel poverty.
By upskilling the Marie Curie Support Line team and the charity’s frontline teams, including volunteers, we can direct people living with a terminal illness to any additional help they need around energy and financial issues.
- Identifying households in fuel poverty and providing support
- Promoting the Priority Services Register so people living with a terminal illness can access additional support from energy companies
- Improving website resources and helpline adviser training around energy-related topics
- Delivering targeted national marketing campaigns to promote the help available from Marie Curie’s Energy Support Officers
How we’re working together
One-to-one energy advice
We’ve recruited Energy Support Officers (ESOs) to join the charity’s Support Line to help people living with a terminal illness and people who’ve been bereaved, who are experiencing fuel poverty or are concerned about their energy usage. The ESOs are also training the wider adviser team on how to deal with energy-related enquiries and provide benefit and income maximisation checks. By the end of September 2023, our programme had already resulted in £1,122,291 worth of benefits identified for people living with a terminal illness, with an average of £145 identified per person.
Registering households for the Priority Services Register (PSR)
People living with a terminal illness are eligible for extra support from energy companies via the PSR. We’re working with Marie Curie’s Support Line and frontline nursing teams to promote the service and help households register.
Community outreach to fuel-poor households
We’re providing bespoke training and support to community nurses, healthcare assistants and volunteers on how to spot the signs of a household in fuel poverty when they’re visiting people at home and refer them to the Energy Support Officers for further support where needed.
How to get involved
Accessing support from Marie Curie
As one of our VCMA network partners, you can refer your clients to Marie Curie for support and energy information through the charity’s website.
If you’re living with a terminal illness and need practical information or support, please visit the Marie Curie website for details on how the charity can help you, or you can call their free Support Line on 0800 090 2309.
They also have a handy online benefits calculator to help you find out which benefits you could be entitled to and how to claim them. It’s free to use, anonymous, and doesn’t collect any personal information.
Becoming a Marie Curie partner
Through this partnership, we've been able to bring together other organisations that support people with life-limiting illnesses in a roundtable to discuss broader energy resilience and safeguarding. This includes Kidney Care UK, Hospice Care UK, Parkinson’s UK and others.
If you’d like to find out more about how your organisation could partner with Marie Curie to support people at the end of life, visit the Marie Curie website.
We are thrilled with the progress of our partnership with the gas networks. Our Energy Support Officers have been busy taking calls and rolling out training to Marie Curie staff in the community so we can better support terminally ill people across the UK struggling with rising energy bills. Energy costs remain a key concern for vulnerable families living with a terminal illness, and this partnership ensures we tackle these prescient issues head on.