Two local charities, PECT and Cambridgeshire ACRE, are teaming up to deliver a new project aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of households in northern Cambridgeshire who are suffering from, or at risk of, fuel poverty.
PECT successfully bid for just over £190,000 from the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme, managed by Energy Saving Trust. The Energy Redress Scheme collects voluntary payments from energy companies that may have breached rules to make amends for the effects on energy consumers that could have been affected. The priority of the scheme is to support energy consumers in vulnerable situations, and the PECT bid was deemed particularly worthy of a grant because the funding will be used to support households who have been affected by COVID-19 and who may be struggling to pay energy bills.
The new project, named the Cambridgeshire Home Energy Support Service (CHESS), will see PECT’s partner, Cambridgeshire ACRE, recruit community volunteers to act as their eyes and ears and identify households in need. Those identified will receive energy efficiency advice from PECT and may also be offered funding to help clear fuel debt where appropriate.
Stuart Dawks, Director of Operations at PECT commented: “We are delighted to receive this funding that will make a real difference to many households who have fallen into fuel debt as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know the next few months are going to be particularly difficult for many people and we want to help as many local residents as we can through this service.”
Kirsten Bennett, Chief Executive at Cambridgeshire ACRE added: “We are pleased to be working with the team at PECT on this exciting new project. Cambridgeshire ACRE has strong links in communities across the north of the County and we will use these to help us reach those most in need. It’s vitally important that we support people to stay warm and healthy this Winter and our aim is to support 1,000 households over the next two years.”
The newly launched service can help local residents with cutting the costs of their energy bills and reducing the carbon footprint of their household. The impartial advisors can assist people with: switching supplier, energy saving tips and advice, signing up to the Priority Services Register, home improvement grants, solutions to damp and condensation, and fuel debt relief.
CHESS is funded through the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme, please visit www.energyredress.org.uk for more details.