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Staying Warm Together

A photo of a multigenerational household

Engagement with multigenerational households to find out their needs, barriers to accessing energy advice and how to reach them to provide support.

Project duration: May 2021 to February 2022

Staying Warm Together is a collaboration between CSE and Dhek Bhal in order to identify the barriers that multigenerational households face for accessing energy advice and income support. Through this project we will improve our advice provision by learning about the needs of multigenerational households and how to reach them.

Sarah Becker is leading the project. “Whilst we at CSE recognise that different types of households have different needs and priorities, the depth of our knowledge of these varies. Our advisors have noticed that multigenerational households (three or four generations living together) sometimes don’t qualify for support because their combined income is above a given threshold. Nonetheless they might be struggling to make ends meet, not least to pay for their electicity and heating.”

In the first instance, and working alongside Dhek Bhal, we will recruit people of different ages from South Asian backgrounds (aged 60+ and multi-generational households) in the Fishponds and Eastville areas of Bristol. We will also conduct 3-4 interviews (45 mins) with professionals who work with families from these communities, drawing on their knowledge and experience of barriers and support needs. Of course, there are multi-generational households in all communities, but for the time being, and based on our advisors’ experience, we are focusing on South Asian households.

A photo of a multigenerational household
Multigenerational households like this sometimes don’t qualify for the support they need because their combined income is above a given threshold.

Our intention is to conduct interviews with interpreter support with one or two members of 10-15 households, exploring living conditions with a focus on cold homes and health, energy affordability and barriers to accessing services. Follow-up advice and casework support will be offered to participating households by CSE energy advisors who will follow up three months later to understand if the advice we have given has been effective. Dhek Bhal will help to shape the research design and interview questions based on their knowledge of barriers faced by South Asian families.

“Cold homes and fuel poverty are linked to a range of negative health outcomes, including respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, mental health problems and to excess winter deaths,” said Sarah. “It is not known for sure if ethnicity is a factor in this, but we do know that people of South Asian background are at higher risk of coronary disease and diabetes which are risk factors for harm from cold homes.”

This research – which is funded by Quartet Community Foundation and City Funds – will be used to widen CSE’s advice provision so that more people living in multigenerational households, who have previously been unsupported, will receive income and energy advice and enjoy warmer homes and less financial pressure.

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