Empowered by Energy is a unique energy awareness project empowering newly recognised refugees to the UK, often struggling to survive on extremely low incomes, to overcome the language barrier, understand new energy systems and save money. Funded by SGN, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks and SP Energy Networks, the workshops are being delivered face-to-face and online by NEA, with expert partners from the Refugee Council and the British Red Cross, who work closely with refugees.
Coming from different climates, refugees won’t automatically know how to keep a home warm, read their energy meter, set up an account or bleed radiators. The workshops build a self-sustaining support network to embed useful life skills and make communities more resilient. Without such support, refugees and asylum seekers can quickly find themselves owing hundreds of pounds to an energy supplier they didn’t know they had. The workshops give them the confidence to contact their energy company and get the support they need, take control of their energy bills and join their Priority Services Register. For example energy companies provide translation services and tariff support, such as the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
“Everything is new for asylum seekers and refugees. On top of everything else they often end up with higher energy bills. Working with our partners, National Energy Action has been able to support asylum seekers and refugees with energy advice which they can pass on to their families and communities, including by video during the Covid-19 crisis. Being a refugee or asylum seeker is an overwhelming experience and this project gets help to those who need it most.” Adam Scorer, Chief Executive, NEA
The workshops help to create confident ‘energy champions’ who can share practical tips with others on sustaining safe and warm homes throughout bitterly cold British winters, without unnecessarily falling into energy debt.
“Thank you to Beth for being available to give information and education to some of the youngsters that we support to get them thinking about and preparing them to understand how to manage energy when they move to a new home independently. They learnt that they would be responsible for paying for the energy to heat, light and power their homes and were given good tips about how to organise this and how to save money. I have seen some of our youngsters using their slow cookers already and it was fantastic that they were able to go home with these and know how using them would save energy and money.” Mel Kerour SCSA (Separated Children Seeking Asylum) Support Worker ICN Bournemouth