The official government definition of Fuel Poverty is just changing and the phrase can cause stigma and put people off. But in the broader sense of the phrase if families are struggling to keep their house warm, even to the point of deciding between ‘food or fuel’ then the knock on affects are pretty bad.
- Multiple health problems for young and old
- Mental health problems such as depression can be set off/worsened
- Debt problems
- Children’s education can be affected
- The house itself can deteriorate, mould, condensation etc
The problem can often be a hidden one, people as a rule don’t want to be a bother, think they can cope, muddle through etc but this can exacerbate the problem.
Often the root causes are:
- Badly insulated houses
- Inefficient heating systems
- Lack of knowledge about how to conserve energy, cut down on bills, switch suppliers, benefits that can be claimed to help with the bills
- Skyrocketing energy bills themselves
I know there are people out there on the Isle of Wedmore who need some help. If you think you are one of them please get in touch on 07841 336720 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I see this as a problem that the Green Wedmore can help with since it directly relates to energy. If we can help people reduce their energy usage and their bills then everyone benefits including the environment.
So the aims of this project are twofold;
- Making sure everyone in the Isle of Wedmore knows they can come to us for help
- Green Wedmore to be the signpost to further help (the Centre for Sustainable Energy, CSE have people based in Somerset who will do home visits and they have a helpline as do the Home Heat Helpline people)
Some people have spoken to me about bulk purchasing schemes to help people reduce their bills. This could be something we look at in the future but what puts me off initially here is firstly that gathering a large group of peoples contact details, liaising with the energy companies to negotiate a bulk price, going back to the group to sign them up, monitoring the situation at least annually to check the market and if necessary do the same process again…. This takes a heck of a lot of time and admin which I feel would be beyond our resources at the moment. Secondly I would prefer we try to help the people most at need first. Thirdly this approach does not necessarily encourage people to reduce their energy usage per se so is drifting further from the aims of Green Wedmore.
What we will do:
- Link up with CSE and their WISH programme. They may be able to join us for a Warmer Wedmore Workshop if we feel it would be useful. They may be able to help with training if one or more locals wanted to be trained up as a volunteer Energy Champion/home visit person.
- There will be monthly adverts in the IOW News and Allerton News to signpost people to the scheme.
- We will do a press release perhaps once we have our first household who needs help and is happy to be in the media!
- We will produce flyers for use in local shops/events, again similar to the adverts, signposting people to us and/or CSE.
Centre for Sustainable Energy Helpline: 0800 082 2234