CSE volunteer, Yusuf Salah, wins ’Heat Hero’ award

Somali households in Bristol helped with fuel poverty advice

6 November 2012

Congratulations to CSE volunteer, Yusuf Salah, who has been selected as one of National Energy Action's Heat Heroes 2012.

This award scheme, which is sponsored by Scottish Power, recognises individuals who have made a significant contribution to help people in fuel poverty within their communities. "And Yusuf's contribution has been nothing short of outstanding" said Kate Thomas, who works with him on CSE's Warming Bristol Communities project.

Originally from Somalia, Yusuf started volunteering for CSE in March 2010 and is the the key link between our energy advisors and Bristol’s large Somali population – many of whom are refugees struggling on  low incomes and in poor housing.

Working up to two days a week, Yusuf has, helped CSE support 420 households through in-depth casework, and to make 275 home visits.

Kate explained why Yusuf's support is so critical: "Without his language skills the majority of our Somali clients could only understand the most simplistic advice or would not be able access our service at all. He enables CSE to reach some of the households in Bristol that are  most vulnerable to fuel poverty and fuel debt.

"Yusuf is a widely known and trusted member of the local Somali community – a first point of contact for new immigrants and involved in numerous formal and informal groups in the city. His presence adds validity to the advice we give, builds trust and helps facilitate face-to-face interactions.

"His contribution to CSE has also been huge - helping us to better understand and respond to the cultural factors that influence fuel poverty in Somali households, and to tailor our energy advice appropriately, for example explaining the concept of energy tariffs, or the consequences of not paying bills.

Yusuf is also a keen participant in the CSE five-a-side football matches that take place at the nearby Windmill Hill City Farm.

Last year, another CSE volunteer was a NEA Heat Hero: read about June Bailey here

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