CSE volunteer Yusuf picks up Heat Hero award

Recognition for helping fuel poor Somali households

17 December 2012

CSE volunteer, Yusuf Salah, picked up his National Energy Action Heat Hero award at the Houses of Parliament last week.

Yusuf was one of ten national winners of this year’s award, sponsored by Scottish Power, which recognises individuals who have made a significant contribution to help people in fuel poverty within their communities. 

Originally from Somalia, Yusuf started volunteering for CSE in March 2010 and is 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.

"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,” explains Kate Thomas, who works with him on CSE's Warming Bristol Communities project. “He enables CSE to reach some of the households in Bristol that are most vulnerable to fuel poverty and fuel debt.

"His contribution has 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. His presence adds validity to the advice we give, builds trust and helps facilitate face-to-face interactions.”

It’s the second year running that a CSE volunteer has won a Heat Hero award; June Bailey was recognised last year.

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