New energy partnership to help keep Walsall homes warm this winter

14 February 2015

Residents in Walsall could benefit from warmer homes and help with their energy bills this winter thanks to a new partnership in the borough.

Fuel poverty charity National Energy Action and British Gas, the UK’s leading energy provider, have teamed up with Walsall Housing Group (whg), to launch the Community Action Partnership, as part of a £1.2 million community investment programme across the UK.

Activities will include establishing a fuel poverty action group with key partners in Walsall to progress strategic fuel poverty action across the town and training frontline workers to see the signs of fuel poverty. The partnership is also launching the s£ve project which involves whg and NEA recruiting energy champion volunteers who will use the training to help others within their community become energy aware.

Jimmy Lawlor, 44, from Bloxwich, was the first volunteer to be trained, he said: “I came along just to see if there was anything I could do to cut my own bills and pass on the valuable information to friends, family and neighbours. I am now keen to share my knowledge with others, particularly older people who may be suffering health issues or spending more time in their homes. I get great satisfaction out of volunteering particularly when helping people in difficulty in my own community and getting to know people in the local area. I would urge other people to get involved in the Community Action Partnership training so they too can cut their energy costs and help others to do the same”.

Maria Wardrobe, Director of External Affairs at National Energy Action, said: “NEA is delighted to be working with British Gas and Walsall Housing Group to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency in our communities. Fuel poverty is a serious issue in Walsall, affecting 16% of households in the area. Through this partnership we will be able to deliver a range of activities to address the causes and treat the symptoms of fuel poverty, including training for energy co-ordinators, advice sessions, and new resources to help communicate the issues more widely.”

The partnership will work with a range of local agencies to promote energy efficiency in communities and improve lives through local support.

Cliff Horrocks, Corporate Director – Asset Management at whg, said: “We are dedicated to the success of our people and places, and championing schemes such as this is one way we will achieve that success. We have a long tradition of innovation to achieve energy efficiency and this latest project which combines our award-winning community champion model with our equally award-winning eco-work is a natural next step.

“This scheme will make a considerable difference to the quality of life and disposable income of some of Walsall’s most vulnerable residents. We look forward to working in partnership with British Gas and National Energy Action and reporting back on the direct results we expect to see in Walsall over the coming months.”

The programme is being funded British Gas which has worked with National Energy Action for more than 30 years on a number of programmes to support people out of fuel poverty and promote energy efficiency.

Christine Tate from British Gas, said: “This partnership will mean more help for more people, when they need it most. Frontline community groups will be able to identify people in fuel poverty quickly and refer them for immediate help. Residents in Walsall will gain a better understanding of how energy efficiency can reduce bills and make homes warmer.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors

  1. National Energy Action (NEA) is the national charity which aims to eradicate fuel poverty and campaigns for greater investment in energy efficiency to help those who are poor and vulnerable.
  2. The Community Action Partnership will run from 2014-2016 in eight areas of England and Wales. The areas are: Cardiff; Enfield; Barking and Dagenham; Northampton; Walsall; Liverpool; North East England (Warm up North) and Manchester (AGMA). Further information on the Community Action Partnership and Community Action Award Scheme can be found at http://www.nea.org.uk/see-us-in-action/community-action-partnership
  3. British Gas is the UK’s leading energy supplier, and serves around 11 million homes in Britain – nearly half the country’s homes – as well as providing energy to one million UK businesses. British Gas provides value for money, dedicated customer service, innovative energy solutions and the highest quality Home Services expertise in the country. Find out more at www.britishgas.co.uk. For more information on British Gas’s involvement call Leigh Franks, British Gas 02920 275071 or 07557 618 488 leigh.franks@britishgas.co.uk
  4. The launch event took place at whg’s Central Office, Hatherton Street, Walsall on the 13th February.
  5. whg is one of the largest and most successful providers of high quality housing in the West Midlands. whg houses in excess of 40,000 people in around 19,000 properties and has invested more than £350million in homes and communities since its launch in 2003. Visit www.whg.uk.com to find out more.
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