The Bristol Fuel Poverty Partnership: a new collaboration
24 April 2017
We have been awarded funding through the Bristol Impact Fund for a four year programme run in collaboration with Talking Money and We Care & Repair; the Bristol Fuel Poverty Partnership. The programme will tackle fuel poverty in Bristol, giving help to those on a low income, single parents and unemployed people living within the private rented sector.
The partnership involves three leading fuel poverty organisations within Bristol and builds on the model we developed in our work with Talking Money and WE Care & Repair for the Pre-payment Meter Money Matters project. Alongside CSE, Talking Money will provide financial capability, money, debt and energy advice and WE Care & Repair will carry out home repairs and improvements, to make homes safer, warmer and more secure. This will be the first time that eligible Bristol residents will be able to access all these services through a single point-of-contact.
The latest fuel poverty statistics show that 10.6% of the population of England are living in fuel poverty. This percentage, high as it is, doesn’t capture the often complex and overlapping problems that a family in fuel poverty might face. The percentage of those in fuel poverty in Bristol is higher than the national average at 13.6% and some of Bristol’s most deprived wards have even higher levels of predicted fuel poverty e.g. Ashley (15.8%) and Filwood (15.4%). This is compounded by the age and poor condition of many of the privately rented houses in Bristol, many of which were built before 1919.
Fuel poverty is caused by three issues: cold and inefficent houses, high fuel prices and low incomes. Therefore by providing a complete service that deals with housing, energy bills and wider financial issues the partnership will tackle the underlying causes of fuel poverty directly and work to improve the life quality of those living in cold homes.
The partnership will use an innovative new approach and will employ two caseworkers that will work across all three organisations, training them to offer advice and guidance across the three relevant spheres – energy, finance, and housing. This should create a streamlined referral service so that other organisations can confidently refer clients on – knowing that their problems will be dealt with comprehensively. Caseworkers will act as project navigators; carrying out home visits and facilitating and joining up professional support for the households in need.
The Bristol Fuel Poverty Partnership will start work in July 2017.