We have facilitated the improvement of housing quality in Southampton helping vulnerable people access funding using connections through faith communities.
A household is ‘fuel poor’ if its members are living below the official poverty line after deductions of their energy costs. 10.3% of Southampton households are currently facing Fuel Poverty (DECC, May 2015). This is higher than the average of 6.7% in Hampshire. Southampton saw 108 excess, preventable winter deaths each year between 2010-2013 so it is vital that provision is put in place to help families most at risk. The Environment Centre received funding from the British Gas Energy Trust to help improve efficiency of Southampton households.
The Environment Centre has set up an advice line to provide support and advice and practical interventions will be given to eligible homes in crisis for example, emergency heaters, small grants and hot meals. It is expected that the funding will reduce energy bills, provide home energy upgrades and improve housing quality for the most vulnerable in Southampton.
Our role to promote this service through the faith communities and faith-based projects enabling them to spread the word and connect with vulnerable people. Leaders of the city’s faith-based projects and organisations were offered information and briefed in the Healthy Homes referral process via face-to-face meetings, emails and phone calls. This briefing enabled them to approach those linked with their faith-based community who could be at risk of fuel poverty and signpost them towards the Environment Centre.
Through our work, Southampton Council of Faiths is supporting and promoting the project amongst the communities they represent. To date, over 400 interactions have been made.
“I have not needed to put so much money on my electric meter since you came around. I think you advice about how to make the best from economy 7 has probably been the biggest saver for me.”
“I would not have had the work done without your help because as you get older you lose your confidence, but because of the kindness from your staff I went ahead and had it done.”
“I would not have gotten this far without your help and cannot thank you enough for getting us through a very stressful time. Your guidance, professionalism and support helped us go through the process step by step.”
“The landlord refused to do anything in the first place, but with your help it got sorted. We are very grateful for your help and would recommend you at any time.”