Forces for Warmth is a collaborative project between NEA and The Royal British Legion (an armed forces charity that provides lifelong support to the forces community), working alongside other local charities across the East Midlands.
Forces for Warmth is a pilot project that is trialling new ways of working with members of the ex-serving (and serving) forces community. The aim of the project is to reduce the risk and alleviate the impact of fuel poverty for these individuals.
A study carried out by The Royal British Legion found that a significant number of the ex-service community over the age of 65 had experienced fuel poverty – reporting a post-tax income below the national average and report that many expressed that they often ‘go without’ as a result of lower incomes. This extends to the inability to replace essential items such as cookers and boilers if they break down, as well as being unable to tackle damp problems in the home. It was also found that one in four of the working age members of the ex-service community were in arrears, therefore, struggling to pay fuel bills.
Forces for Warmth is being established across the East Midlands and will begin by delivering training to staff at The Royal British Legion to enable them to identify and offer basic advice and guidance to people who may be in, or at risk of, living in fuel poverty and struggling to stay warm in their homes affordably. They will also be able to provide basic support and advice either over the phone or when visiting people in their homes. Staff will also be able to refer people to a designated advice service run by NEA, in order to receive tailored more in-depth energy advice and practical support.
Community engagement events will be an integral part of the project to target local areas and to raise awareness of the service being offered, and offer outreach advice and support. After the initial pilot project and evaluating the successes and learning points, the intention is to expand the project from the East Midlands to other areas within the UK.