WHAM (Warmer homes, advice and money)
WHAM (Warmer Homes, Advice & Money) supports Bristol and North Somerset’s most vulnerable residents by giving advice on energy, money, benefits and carrying out home repairs.
We particularly help those on low incomes and those struggling to afford to heat their homes.
I was at my wits end. To be honest, I really don’t know what I would have done without Neal from WHAM. I can’t thank him enough.
My partner’s breathing is much better thanks to the dehumidifier he got us and we’ve changed how we use our heating and cook in bulk which saves us money. This service is really important to so many people in these challenging times.
It was such a confusing and complicated issue but I didn’t feel alone and Neal really helped me to fight my corner.Jack, Bristol
The project is an almost unprecedented example of multi-agency working. Our caseworkers rotate between partner organisations, co-ordinating support and acting as a single point of contact for clients.
WHAM has been recognised as an example of good practice, sustainable and innovative advice provision by Public Health England and Ofgem.
Partners include the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE), Talking Money, We Care Home Improvements, Bristol and North Somerset councils, Citizens Advice (Bristol & North Somerset), North Bristol Advice Centre and AMS Electrical.
WHAM has supported 4,173 households to the value of £2.76m in financial savings and benefits.
WHAM supports people with:
- Advice on how to monitor, check and pay for energy bills.
- Help to make homes safe and secure.
- Advice on benefits and money.
- Help with budgeting and debt advice.
- Advice on managing energy use and cutting bills.
- Accessing grants for heating repairs and upgrades.
“This is the first time that Bristolians and the residents of North Somerset have been able to access these services from a single point,” said Lisa Evans, CSE’s project lead.
“This makes it much easier for people to get the help they need and keep in touch with their allocated caseworker making sure fewer people fall through the cracks.
“We want everyone to be warm, well and safe at home. We want people to understand how to use their heating efficiently, what benefits they could be entitled to and how to budget so they avoid having to cut back on food or other essentials. This project goes some way to achieving that.”
Being diagnosed with a life changing illness was awful, but the support I received through WHAM was amazing. Without help with my heating issues and financial support, I don’t know what I would have done. Thank you very much.Jane, Clevedon
Working in hospitals
WHAM works closely with the main hospitals in our area: Southmead Hospital in Bristol, Weston General and Bristol Royal Infirmary. We help address issues which can prevent patients from being discharged such as poor or non-existent heating or damp problems in their homes.
Hospital staff can make referrals directly to WHAM, meaning work can begin and support can be given to alleviate fuel poverty even while the patient is still in hospital.
As a single parent of three – two with additional needs – and on a low income, WHAM been a godsend. I saved over £500 a year. Joe, my caseworker, fitted draught excluders around our home to stop the cold air coming in. Many thanks!Clare, Somerset.
We’ve recruited and trained a team of volunteers and local voluntary groups to spot people who might need help and refer them on to the WHAM project.
WHAM is now in its sixth year and currently funded by Energy Redress and the local NHS (specifically the North Somerset Health & Wellbeing Fund).
From the start, WHAM has been funded by Bristol City Council through the Bristol Impact Fund. In 2019, the project was able to expand thanks for additional funding from the Bristol Energy Fuel Good Fund and the Warm Home Fund from Affordable Warmth Solutions CIC.