WHAM - Warmer Homes, Advice & Money
Collaborating to solve poverty in Bristol and North Somerset
Project duration: July 2017 ongoing
The WHAM project is an innovative new model for supporting Bristol and North Somerset’s most vulnerable residents – giving advice on energy, money, benefits and carrying out home repairs.
The project is an almost unprecedented example of multi-agency working together in which we, with a number of partners - Talking Money, We Care Home Improvements, Bristol and North Somerst councils, Citizens Advice and Bristol Energy Network - to provide a comprehensive service to people living in fuel poverty and financial hardship.
WHAM will particularly help those on a low income, single parents and unemployed people living in the private rented sector.
This four year project - which began in July 2017 - now employs six caseworkers. The six work across all three organisations, acting as a single point of contact for people using the service.
The support offered by the three core organisations will cover:
- Advice on how to monitor, check and pay for your energy bills.
- Help to make your home safe and secure.
- Advice on legal, immigration and housing issues.
- Advice on benefits and money.
- Help with budgeting and debt advice.
- Tips on managing your energy use and cutting bills.
- Accessing grants for heating repairs and upgrades.
Our WHAM caseworkers offer a range of services including carrying out thermal imaging surveys of the inside of properties where appropriate. The survey shows where the cold is getting in and where the heat is getting out and what needs to be done to sort out the heat-loss problems in the home. To find out more about the surveys visit www.cheeseproject.co.uk.
“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 which will hopefully make sure that fewer people fall through the cracks.
"We want everyone to be warm, well, safe at home, and not having to cut back on food or other essentials. Hopefully this project will go some way to achieving that.”
WHAM has recruited and trained a team of a dozen volunteers and local voluntary groups to spot people who might need help and refer them on to the project.
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.