Warmth for Wellbeing

Brighton & Hove City Council

Supporting 1,000 vulnerable Brighton and Hove residents in energy crisis

Our project at a glance

  • Strategic priority area: Targeting geographic communities most at risk of fuel poverty
  • Support target: 1,042 households in four months
  • Duration: January 2024 to April 2024
  • Investment: £71,500 over five months
  • Forecast SROI: £1.93

Why we’re working together

Living in a cold home has significant and demonstrable direct and indirect health benefits. There is strong evidence to show people living in fuel poverty are more likely to experience poor health, medical conditions and lower life expectancy.  

In Brighton and Hove, 11.6% of households were living in fuel poverty in 2021. That’s more than 14,600 households and significantly higher than the average for the south-east at 8.6%. 

Since 2013, Brighton & Hove City Council has been providing crisis support to households in fuel poverty through the Local Discretionary Social Fund (LDSF). In recent years, the cost-of-living and energy crisis has put unprecedented demand and pressure on the service. As well as providing immediate support for households in crisis, the team provides referrals to appropriate local advice agencies on issues such as debt and broader welfare advice.

We’ve partnered with Brighton & Hove City Council and UK Power Networks on a pilot programme to identify and support vulnerable households in energy crisis. This initiative complements the existing LDSF service and provides much-needed additional support to meet the increased demand. We’ll target the most vulnerable residents, those most at risk of poor health due to living in a cold and unhealthy home. 

Our pilot programme will work closely with other frontline agencies, including Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove and East Sussex Fire and Rescue, to provide enhanced support over winter when there is a greater need to provide practical support to keep vulnerable people safe and warm at home.

With our pilot taking a little longer to mobilise than we'd planned, we've worked with the partners to extend the delivery timescales to August to achieve our set targets.

Project objectives

  • Providing emergency funding to households in energy crisis
  • Helping vulnerable households reduce energy costs by improving home energy efficiency 
  • Supporting eligible households to join the Priority Services Register
  • Educating households on carbon monoxide safety and providing alarms where required 
  • Delivering CO safety awareness training to 100 council employees and partners

How we’re working together

Energy crisis support

We aim to support 1,042 vulnerable households in energy crisis by providing fuel vouchers to manage their immediate need this winter. We’re able to provide this support to households in need, regardless of whether they pay their bills by direct debit or have a prepayment meter. 

One-to-one energy advice

As well as providing emergency support, we’re helping these households build longer-term financial resilience and address the underlying causes of fuel poverty. This includes household income assessments and benefits checks, as well as providing home energy efficiency advice. 

PSR registration

We assess all households to identify whether they’re eligible for the Priority Services Register. If they are, we help them sign up for this free service, which helps us – and the electricity network and water companies – better support our vulnerable customers through our day-to-day services and in an emergency. 

Carbon monoxide awareness

We’re raising awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) among vulnerable households and providing free CO alarms to households without one. By providing CO awareness training for 100 employees from Brighton and Hove City Council and our programme partners, we’re equipping these frontline workers with the skills and knowledge to educate households on carbon monoxide safety.

How to get involved

Accessing the Warmth for Wellbeing service

Clients and residents in Brighton and Hove can access a range of support at Brighton and Hove City Council's Cost of Living Support Hub, including applying for fuel help. For more details, visit brighton-hove.gov.uk/cost-living-support

We’re very happy to be working with SGN and UK Power Networks to help residents struggling with energy costs. It’s a great example of how we can work in partnership to increase the support available to Brighton and Hove’s most vulnerable residents.

The additional funding will add to the Brighton & Hove Fairness Fund we’ve set up to provide an ongoing safety net as we continue work to address poverty in the city, beyond the cost-of-living crisis.

Councillor Leslie Pumm

Cabinet Member for Communities, Equalities and Human Rights, Brighton & Hove City Council