Hot Tea and Warm Homes

Free tea and cake may have got them in, but it was help with switching that people were interested in when they came along to The Footprint Trust’s Switching Event on Thursday 9th February in Newport Parish Centre, Isle of Wight.

“This has been an enormous help to me…” a consumer told Mark Russell, Big Energy Saving Network (BESN) Champion with The Footprint Trust, whilst switching energy provider and saving the consumer an estimated £120 a year.

Responding to feedback from consumers, and as part of the National Energy Action’s Warm Homes Campaign, The Footprint Trust provided free, impartial energy switching guidance at an event supported by the local Citizen’s Advice. J&J Crump, who provide home insulation as part of the Energy Companies’ Obligation, were also there to chat to people.

Anecdotal evidence gathered by The Footprint Trust indicates that, although people are aware of switching, they are very reluctant to do so, with many people of all age-groups preferring to stay with the traditional local electricity supplier.

“Although in our experience the traditional local electricity supplier offers good customer care, it is often the case that people could save money by switching to another provider,” says Ray, NEA National Heat Hero and Big Energy Saving Network Champion.

“It seems to be anxiety about what can go wrong which puts most people off,” added Mark, BESN Champion for The Footprint Trust. “That’s why we thought we’d put on this event, to give people the support they need when switching.”

“If you hadn’t helped me, I wouldn’t have switched by myself,” one lady told us, “It’s not that I can’t go on-line; it’s the process which scares me.”

It took about 20-30 minutes per consumer so a total of 10 consumers were ˜switched’ at the event, whilst others were happy to receive general energy-saving guidance – along with a piece of cake.

Savings of between £34 and £187 were identified for consumers using USwitch, one of the OFGEM-approved comparison websites .

For those that missed the event they can contact the Trust on 822282 or email to make an appointment to switch or get guidance on energy matters.


Islanders nominate local charity for award

Nationwide Building Society customers have nominated the Isle of Wight’s Footprint Trust to feature in their Community Match programme.

Community Match is a local charity voting scheme. The Footprint Trust are encouraging Islanders invited to vote for them with a blue token, issued in the local branches in; Newport, Ryde and Shanklin.

Should the local charity get the most votes they will receive a donation towards their work in helping low-income families.

The Trust assists around 1,000 local people a year, by reducing their fuel bills. They are recognised nationally and locally for their work in fighting fuel poverty, which is much higher on the Isle of Wight, in comparison to the rest of the south east.

Speaking for the Footprint Trust, Ray Harrington-Vail, said,

“We are delighted that Nationwide customers have nominated us, we would now urge people to vote for us in their nearest branch, voting closes on 31st March, so please do it next time you are in town… ”


Contact info; 01983 822282 Ray Harrington-Vail, The Footprint Trust charity.

More details of our work on the Isle of Wight can be found here…

Cold weather help at Newport drop-in

The local Footprint Trust’s WarmerWight project has had a flurry of calls due to the recent cold spell. Some 100 people have been in contact concerned about their energy bills.

The Trust is to hold a energy drop-in at Newport Parish Centre on Thursday 9th February from 11am to 3pm.

Those attending this free event can bring along their energy bills, and the WarmerWight team will see if they can bring them down.

“People will be able to get guidance on energy efficiency at a forthcoming energy event in the new year, with practical hints and tips on insulating their homes as well as well as switching their energy supplier, these measures saving households hundreds of £’s per year.”

Said Ray Harrington-Vail the Trust’s National Heat Hero, who will be attending. Local MP Andrew Turner, is supporting the event and stated;
˜The Footprint Trust do excellent work helping people to find ways to save money on their fuel costs; especially important as the colder weather has now arrived. Popping along to this event could help you find some significant savings, as so many other Islanders have done already.”

Ray Harrington Vail of the Footprint Trust said: “We help many people who ask for help with fuel issues and have helped over 1,000 people, during the last year. In the end we helped people save over £15,000, with savings of up to £200 per year. Recently one family had their energy costs reduced by over £700!”

For Islanders who cannot attend they can get information by calling the Trust on 822282, or via email
The Island’s Footprint Trust is backing National Energy Action (NEA) national campaign by highlighting fuel poverty on the Isle of Wight.

The campaign is run by fuel poverty charity, NEA, which aims to raise awareness of the problem and some of the solutions available for those struggling to heat their homes affordably.

Maria Wardrobe, Director of Communications and External Relations at NEA said: “Fuel poverty is a serious and growing concern, with around 15,000 households on the Isle of Wight were unable to afford to heat their homes. Through the Warm Homes Campaign we hope to improve the life chances of residents who are struggling with their fuel bills and ensure they can stay warm and healthy in their homes this winter.”
Maggie* was helped by the Trust last winter, she told us,

” I thought I was doing okay and that it was my washing machine that was the problem, as I know they use a lot of electricity, but I have to use it with two kids. So when you pointed out the cost of running the shower for baths, I was staggered. I was also so worried about the bills, it was doing my head in. Now I feel that things are back on track – I’m paying my way for my bills as I get them, I’ve got the electricity use right down by doing weekly meter readings, and I feel so much better. Amazing! – I didn’t even know they were there as I’m new to the town.”

The event takes place at Newport Parish Centre, Town Lane, Newport from 11am-3pm on Thursday 9th February 2017. Free admission, cake and tea available!

For more details phone Ray Harrington-Vail on 01983 822282 or email

Notes for Editors

*Maggie is not her real name, this has been changed to protect our vulnerable client.

The Isle of Wight is above the national average for percentage of households in fuel poverty with 14.9% some 15,000 Island homes. (Fuel Poverty and Excess Winter Deaths JSNA March 2014). It was the second highest local authority from the South East region.

National Energy Action is a fuel poverty charity, working across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and with sister charity Energy Action Scotland, to ensure that everyone can afford to live in a warm, dry home. NEA runs the Warm Homes Campaign, leading up to Fuel Poverty Awareness Day on 17 February – to raise awareness of fuel poverty and its possible solutions.

The Footprint Trust is a local charity founded in 2002 on the Isle of Wight. It assists over 1,000 people a year through its work in energy conservation. The charity also involves people in a whole range of projects that enhance the environment.

Contacts; Ray Harrington-Vail The Footprint Trust charity 01983 822282.

Community Action Awards 2012 – Environmental category
National Heat Hero Award 2012
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2013
SHG Partnership Working Award 2014
Big Energy Saving Network Champions 2015 and 2016

Crowdfunding first for local charity

A local charity which assists over 1,000 of the Isle of Wight’s poorest residents has made an appeal on the national Crowdfunder website. Crowdfunder has helped good causes throughout the UK raise over £10 million over the last 5 years.

The Newport based Footprint Trust charity, was set up in 2002, and since that time has assisted over 15,000 local people on low income , through giving guidance on reducing energy and water bills, switching, insulation and grants.

Around 18% of Island homes are in fuel poverty. This means that people are making choices between heating and eating. This also means that energy is being wasted, adding to CO2 pollution. Those living in fuel poverty spend at least 10% of their income on energy for their homes.

In the past the vast majority of the Trust’s funding has come from off-Island, via charitable bodies, along with grants from the British and European governments.

Funding is becoming more difficult to obtain, and the Trust does not want to cut services. The recent vote to leave the EU, will hit the Trust and many other local and national charities and European grants will no longer be available.

Speaking for the local charity its general manager Ray Harrington-Vail said,

“We are giving Islanders, and people with Isle of Wight links to the Island, the opportunity of investing in our success, and ensure we continue our work.

“The Footprint Trust gives practical help too many families and individuals every year. We have low running costs and the majority of our funding goes on delivering our services. ”

The Trust is seeking to raise £10,000 from the Crowdfunding appeal, which will cover around 10% of its annual running costs. For more details go to; or you can ring the Trust on 01983 822282 or email

For anyone pledging £1,000 or more, Ray will say a personal very big thank you!

“How would you like us to come to your house for and do an energy saving party for you and your friends? Party games and we will save every household around £200! This pledge will fund two of our Monergy workshops and four of our tailored energy-saving home visits!”

Explained Ray, who has performed his comedic Monergy workshop at the Bestival comedy tent in the past.

“For every pound we receive in funding, we more than double that in energy saving, there is also the added benefit of reducing carbon emissions.” Said Ray.


Vectis offers a warm hand to its residents

A local housing association is offering a winter warmer to its residents.

Vectis Housing Association has teamed up with energy experts The Footprint Trust, so that their residents can reduce their utility bills.

The local housing charity has nearly 400 properties distributed in communities all over the Island.
Residents can contact the Footprint Trust directly and request a free energy-saving visit. In most cases householders will cut their utility bills by up to £200.

Speaking for the housing association, Maria Wilkinson said,

“Being a community-based social landlord we have a very close relationship with our residents, and are aware that many of them are struggling with the effects of rising fuel bills, and reductions in benefits. Managing fuel and water bills can be an effective way of reducing costs and making ends meet.”

For the Footprint Trust, their National Heat Hero, Ray Harrington-Vail said,

“We have many years of experience in helping Island families keep warm, and reducing their energy bills. Many residents will be unaware of extra help available for those on a low income. Others struggle to switch suppliers and get a better deal, or do not understand how to use their heating system to best effect.”

The Trust aims to visit 20 Vectis Housing households this winter. Those wishing to book a free home visit or to have chat about energy bills can call Ray or Helen on 01983 822282 or email

Residents with concerns about repairs and other matters should contact Vectis Housing on 520353


Vectis Housing Association manages just under 400 properties throughout the Isle of Wight. We are a responsive, resident-focused association providing high quality, general needs, homes and service to match.
Our key messages for our colleagues and service users are:
– We are the Isle of Wight’s housing association
– We aim to provide and maintain excellent homes that local households can afford
– We look to support financial and social independence amongst our current and future tenants
– We are community-based
– We are good partners to work with

The Footprint Trust is a local charity which is known for specialising in helping those in fuel poverty. It was set up in 2002. Their staff include a winner of the national Heat Hero Award and two Energy Campions. The Trust was given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2013 for its work in helping Islanders, with particular reference to those in fuel poverty.

Donate to Anti-freeze fund and warm-up a needy Island family

“It’s Cold, It’s Christmas Eve, and you’ve got £10

Do you…buy some food for the kids?

Orput the money on the meter?

That’s an Isle of Wight Christmasfor many local families.”

Says Ray Harrington-Vail as he launched a charity appeal to raise £10,000 to help low-income Island families and pensioners.

“The problem is that some 11,000 Islanders will spend this winter making the stark choice between Eating or Heating. These Island families are a growing number of people in the UK, in ˜fuel poverty’.”

If a household spends 10% of their income on energy for their home then they are in fuel poverty.

Many people choose to be cold rather than risk running up debt. This can make children, the elderly and disabled people ill.

You can make a practical difference to an Island family or pensioner by supporting The Footprint Trust’s Anti-freeze Fund

£280 pays for six home visits – saving the average household around £200 pa

£250 buys an energy efficient appliance for a low-income family

£128 will buy 8 electric fires for use in emergencies

£80 pays for a thick duvet and a coat for a cold child

The footprint Trust spends less than 4% of our income on admin. They don’t have any highly paid executives and they don’t pay for professional fund-raisers, or pester people in the streets with chuggers!

Support Us

Text a donation to FTUK22 £5 to 70070

Or a cheque made payable to, The Footprint Trust and send to them at
The Riverside Centre, The Quay, Newport PO30 2QR,

Help is at hand for anyone concerned about their home energy costs.

The Footprint Trust visit people in their homes and give them free guidance on how to stay warm for less. The charity has can provide free insulation for most households. The Trust helps people get discounts on their energy and better deals. Contact them on 822282.

The Trust helps people get touch with other charities that can help them with other problems they may have.


The Footprint Trust Ltd is a not-for-profit
company registered in England and Wales.
Registered Charity No. 1106024.
Registered Company No. 04587815.

Island charity launches Energy Action Week

The Island’s energy-saving experts The Footprint Trust have put together their top 10 tips for saving energy in the home, to mark their local Energy Action Week, which runs from 23rd to 29th October. The aim being to get people thinking and acting to get their bills down.

Their National Heat Hero Ray Harrington-Vail said,

“Every year we help around 2,000 people reduce their energy and water bills, whilst still staying warm and well, through our WarmerWight plus project.”

“As part of the week we are staging our popular annual Energy Action event on Friday, to help people with cash flow problems relating to fuel costs and debt in general. We will be joined by other charities such as the CAB, People Matter, Community Action and AgeUK , who with us form the Islehelp partnership. Frontline, Southern Housing and Spectrum Housing will also be on hand along with other organisations.”

The Action Energy event will take place on Friday 28th October at The Riverside Centre, Newport Quay, from 11am to 3pm. This will start the Trust’s winter campaign to help Islanders reduce their energy bills, thanks to funding from the Big Energy Saving Network (BESN).

“We have listed our top ten tips, however, all households are different, and there are other tips which will be only relevant to some households.”
“The Trust is happy to arrange a free home visit to any Island resident, and give them tailored guidance on saving money on their energy and water bills.”

The Big Energy Top Ten Tips

Insulate Now – you could be wasting about £300 every year but not having loft and cavity insulation. Grant funding may be available to you, depending on where you live, the age of your property or financial status.

Stop the wind – fit Draught excluders. Unless your home is very new, you’re likely to be losing some heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps around the floor, or up your chimney, and a whole lot of other little holes around the house.

Big Freeze – check the age of your fridge-freezer. If it’s over 10 years old and the door seals have perished then it could be costing you £100 per year to run, a new one could cost as little £24 to run, depending on the make and model. Do not keep your fridge or freezer in an outhouse or conservatory, unless it has been designed for those harsh conditions. It could malfunction, leading to food poisoning and high fuel bills.

Showering with money! – showing is generally cheaper than bathing, but not if you spend half-an-hour in there! An hour-long shower every day could cost nearly £300 a year in water charges and electricity! See if you can manage a four-minute shower!

Too hot! Children and the elderly are just as likely to be made ill by being too hot as too cold. Fit healthy people need to be at about 18 degrees Celsius, whilst older people may need the temperature at around 21 degrees. Every degree over 18 costs about £75 per year. So if you are walking around in your pants in January and have the thermostat at a balmy summer 27 degrees – then that’ll cost you £675!
Close Curtains – get some nice thick curtains from your local charity shop of fit a thermal liner on your existing ones. Will save you about £15 per year and make you feel warmer.

Ditch the old boiler! If your boiler has been chugging along since 1975 then it certainly is time to get a new one. According to Which? Magazine Vaillant and Worcester Bosch are the most dependable brands on the market. New boilers are around 95% efficient compared to old ones, which can be as low as 50%. Grant funding can be available in certain cases, such as people in receipt of Pension Credit or Child Tax Credit. Always get three quotes and make sure that companies are on the Gas Safe Register.

Overcharging – make sure that you are not on the wrong energy tariff. You could be paying £100 or more, if your deal has ended and you have been put on the standard tariff. Don’t be loyal to any energy company, just go out and get the best deal!

Keep it covered – keep saucepan lids on, turn down heat, use the right size pan for hob. This will speed up cooking time and reduce energy costs by about £15 per year, it will also help stop mould, by reducing water moisture in the air. Remember to have a window slightly open when cooking, and to keep the indoor kitchen door closed, again to reduce risk of mould around the house.

Book a free home visit! Thanks to funding from BESN, The Footprint Trust can save Islanders thousands of pound every year, following one of their free visits. Contact them today on (01983) 822282.
Or email The Trust can also be found on Facebook and twitter.


People struggling with energy bills on the Isle of Wight are being helped thanks to funding from the Big Energy Saving Network, The Beatrice Laing Trust and the European Social Fund. Local energy experts from the Island’s Footprint Trust visit people in their homes and giving free, impartial guidance on reducing bills and using energy wisely.

“Winter is coming and it is time to act now!” says Island energy charity.

The Island’s Footprint Trust are urging people to make sure that they are on the correct energy tariff now rather than wait until the high bills arrive.
Speaking for the Trust their National Heat Hero Ray Harrington-Vail said;

“Every week we come across households who are paying up to £200 per year more than they should, due to them not talking to their energy company and getting the best deal.”

Thanks to funding from the Big Energy Saving Network (BESN) the Trust is able to offer free home energy visits to give tailored guidance on how to reduce utility bills.

Ray Harrington-Vail and Mark Russell, from The Footprint Trust, were appointed Champions by the Big Energy Saving Network earlier on this year. Ray is already recognised as National Heat Hero, due to his pioneering work on the Island. The charity’s work is also supported by The Beatrice Laing Trust.

“It isn’t just about switching supplier…”, explains Ray.

“Showing people how to use their heating systems to best effect, can save money and keep people at a comfortable temperature. Replacing old dangerous white goods with new safe energy-efficient ones is also a wise thing to do. We can also arrange for grant-funded insulation of most homes.”

“We are keen to hear from anyone who has concerns about their energy bills, we can be contacted on 822282 or by email at”

The Trust would also like to hear from community and church groups who would like to be informed about the project. Free training is also available to frontline workers so they can also assist people struggling with their utility bills.

Here is an example of someone we assisted last winter…

Maggie* is a young mum with two children under school age. She contacted us as she was concerned that her washing machine was old and inefficient and using a lot of electricity and water. We went to visit her, and found Maggie struggling since her partner has left, and with debt with her gas, water and electricity suppliers. We checked the model of her washing machine and were able to reassure Maggie that it is modern and thus working reasonably efficiently. We then gave Maggie the contact details of the local Family Centre, and referred her to the Centre, for on-going support.

On further investigation we discovered that Maggie was not using her gas boiler to warm hot water, but instead was filling baths for her children by running her electric shower. We recommended that Maggie used her gas boiler to heat water as it is more efficient and cheaper to run. We contacted her electricity company and found out she was eligible for Warm Home Discount, and put her on a cheaper tariff. We contacted Southern Water’s Careline who are working with Maggie on a supported tariff to reduce her water debt.

Maggie told us, ” I thought I was doing okay and that it was my washing machine that was the problem, as I know they use a lot of electricity, but I have to use it with two kids. So when you pointed out the cost of running the shower for baths, I was staggered. I was also so worried about the bills, it was doing my head in. Now I feel that things are back on track – I’m paying my way for my bills as I get them, I’ve got the electricity use right down by doing weekly meter readings, and I feel so much better. Plus, the help I’m getting from the Family Centre is amazing – I didn’t even know they were there as I’m new to the town.”

BESN is made up of 290 Champions from a broad range of third sector organisations such as housing associations, and community energy initiatives across Great Britain, including the Footprint Trust’s WarmerWight-plus initiative. Champions deliver an extensive programme of outreach to vulnerable consumers, focussed on helping them to reduce their energy costs through assisted action on tariffs, switching and supporting the take up of energy efficiency offers. BESN is funded by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.


*name changed to protect client.

The Footprint Trust is a local charity founded in 2002 on the Isle of Wight. It assists over 2,000 people a year through its work in energy conservation. The charity also involves people in a whole range of projects that enhance the environment.

National Heat Hero Award 2012
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2013
SHG Partnership Working Award 2014
Big Energy Saving Network Champions 2015, 2016

Recycling fans needed to spread the message…

A new scheme which seeks ˜champions’ to encourage their local community to recycle more is was launched recently. The aim being to reduce the Island’s waste mountain and achieve zero to landfill within the next five years.

The Recycling Champions initiative is a partnership between Amey, the Isle of Wight Council and the Footprint Trust.

Led by the Footprint Trust, 10 champions have already been recruited, and the Trust is now looking for a few more to get the programme underway.

Speaking for the Footprint Trust, Ray Harrington-Vail said: “It has now become so much easier for households to recycle on the Isle of Wight. From the work we do, the public really support the idea that sending resources to landfill is a bad idea. We are now achieving higher recycling returns than Portsmouth, Southampton and Brighton and are above the national average but can always do better.”

“In the past we have received as many questions about recycling, and the desire for people to be able to do more. This is why we suggested a Recycling Champions scheme for the Island in partnership with the waste contractor Amey and the Isle of Wight Council. We hope that keen recyclers will sign-up and then promote recycling in their neighbourhoods.”

The Footprint Trust will train and assist the Champions, who in turn let their communities know what can be recycled, either via the household waste collection service, recycling centres or by donating items to local charities and other good causes. The free training will take place on Saturday 15th October.
Anyone interested in finding out more or becoming a champion should email or call 822282.

Paul Southall, Director for Amey on the Isle of Wight, added: “We work very closely with Ray and The Footprint Trust to help promote the recycling message. This includes the dedicated education programme that is already active within schools, and the introduction of our new mobile education centre and the soon to be introduced mobile recycling centre.

“Ray and The Footprint Trust are passionate about recycling and will do a fantastic job leading the Recycling Champions scheme.”

Councillor Paul Fuller, Isle of Wight Executive member for Environment, Sustainability & Local Engagement added “This is a great initiative aimed at finding recycling champions in our own communities.

It is really important that people understand the importance of recycling and the positive result this has on our environment. We’re really happy that the Footprint Trust will be engaging with the Island’s community about the impacts of not recycling.

“This is, of course, why the recycling and waste changes have been made on the Island; the council must reduce its waste to landfill tonnage which is ultimately a cost to Island residents.”

The Footprint Trust is an educational charity founded on the Isle of Wight in 2002. The Trust promotes the concept of sustainable living, which is achieved by delivery of practical projects, linked to the environment and the community. Over the past decade the Trust has delivered hundreds of fun workshops to thousands of Island children, raising environmental issues linked to the curriculum.

They have also ran the successful, pond, river and cemetery wardens schemes, engaging local people in helping their local environment. They are probably better known for helping hundreds of Islanders reduce their energy and water bills. As part of the local Youth Offer the Trust launched the Trend youth cafe, in Newport High Street, which promotes Upcycling.


Riverfest to celebrate 10th Anniversary in May 2017

Newport’s popular Riverfest is preparing to set sail again, as this popular annual event enters its tenth year. Set on Newport’s historic Quay, in the Isle of Wight’s picturesque market town local residents and visitors will enjoy and wide range of free entertainment.

Organised by the Island’s Footprint Trust charity and supported by Newport Parish Council the 2017 event on Saturday 13th May.

Local food and drink, arts and crafts will be available from Isle of Wight businesses.
Local dance groups will be and delighting the crowds with their beautiful costumes and talented performances.

A highlight at Riverfest is always the arrival of one of the world’s smallest tall ships T.S. Caroline Allen from the Little Brig Sailing Trust, based in Gosport.

Historic boats will be on show from the Classic boat museum. The Crew of the Rose pirates and the Wolfguard Vikings may well be coming along too, so watch out!
The crew from Medina Valley Centre will be helping young people explore the fascinating creatures of the deep that can be found in the mud of the wildlife-rich River Medina.

You will also have a chance to paddle your own canoe and discover the many courses and activities offered by the Centre for young people.

Newport’s annual Riverfest is the largest free community event in Newport attracting some 4,000 people. Riverfest is the only sustainable transport event on the Isle of Wight; those visiting are encouraged to walk, cycle, sail or use public transport.

Dozens of local charities will be in attendance for visitors to support, and to find out about the many positive projects they are involved in to help improve island life. Finally, after the event do pop into our local, the Bargeman’s Rest for a riverfeast ideally situated on the Quay, and a keen supporter of Riverfest.

For more details please contact The Footprint Trust on 01983 822282 or