UK homes are among the least energy efficient in Europe and we have one of the highest rates of fuel poverty. Government figures released in 2014 show that more than one in 10 English households is now living in fuel poverty.
Having a warm home is one of the most important aspects of having a happy, healthy life. A cold home can lead to ill health and depression for people of all ages. With energy bills set to increase into the future, becoming energy efficient is more important than ever.
Through Energyworks, Groundwork is helping residents make their homes warmer and healthier. We’re working with social landlords, local authorities, health partners and residents groups to tackle fuel poverty within local communities.
As the programme has developed and extended its reach, we have also begun to focus on the resident as well as the fabric of the home as we believe that is the best strategy for tackling the many issues connected to fuel poverty.
Recent YouGov research shows that energy bills are the number one financial concern for households but 66% of people think there is nothing they can do about their rising cost.
That’s where Energyworks comes in.
We provide a bespoke package of support services tailored to the needs of specific communities.
Trained advisers provide practical door-to-door support to residents – often those most at risk of fuel poverty. The aim is to ensure residents are able to sustain their tenancies, cut their energy bills and increase their disposable income.
Services include everything from providing energy performance certificates (EPCs) and installing energy saving measures to fuel debt management, health and safety advice and signposting to other local support services.
Advisers also look at what additional funding from government or local authorities is available to households. Following this they liaise with a contractor to complete the work and leave residents with a warmer, healthier home and reduced energy bills.
I believe what makes Energyworks different is it can offer a one-stop-shop of services and benefits that other providers cannot.
By adopting a community based approach the initiative can add real value and high social return on investment.
There are a number of factors that have made Energyworks a success:
Ultimately, it’s about understanding that many of the issues households are facing are interlinked. While the starting point for Energyworks is to make homes warmer and more energy efficiency, it makes the most of interactions it has with local people to deliver a deeper impact.