The Island’s Footprint Trust charity has stepped in to help Island families and pensioners feeling the effects of the recent energy price increases. This comes in the wake of electricity and gas rises nearly 10% over the last two months. Bringing the average dual-fuel bill up to around £1320*.
The increases in electricity prices of around 9% will particularly hit those in rural areas that do not have the option of using cheaper mains gas. There are some 6,000 properties that are ‘off-gas’ due to their mainly rural locations, they depend on electricity, oil or very expensive LPG fuel – so are always at a disadvantage.
The Trust is very concerned at the rise in ‘fuel poverty’, will affect 16% of Islanders. Over, 19,000** Islanders will spend this winter making the stark choice between Eating or Heating.
Fuel poverty is defined as households who spend more than 10% of their income on fuel for their home. Alongside the fact, that one in five Island children are living in poverty.
They are to hold a public Energy Action! event on Friday 6th December at Newport’s Riverside Centre at 11am.
Information on how to get help and assistance on energy and other issues will be available, including details of the new ECO grant, which can cover free insulation and new boilers. Other organisations will also be on hand including the IW Citizens Advice Bureau who will be providing free, confidential, independent advice covering a range of problem areas including, housing, employment, legal, consumer, debt and benefits.
The IW Law Centre staff will also be in attendance offering to assist people with rent or mortgage arrears – checking arrears are correct, checking benefit entitlements, applying for backdates of benefits, negotiating with Lenders or Landlords and Advocacy. The IW Fire & Rescue Service will be attending the event to give advice and support around all aspects of fire safety in the home. In particular the importance of having working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan. The local member owned United Savings & Loans will be informing people about their affordable loans, current accounts and saving accounts – all to help people save and budget. A practical alternative to the expensive payday loans. There will also be a visit from The MAGIC bus, which is a mobile internet suite staffed by Southern Housing Group teams to help and support residents with the upcoming Welfare Reform Changes and basic internet skills; M – Money, A – Advice, G – Guidance, I – Information, C – Computing.
Also on hand will be information on solar energy for home-owners. The price of PV solar panels have recently dropped dramatically making the price of installation affordable for many homes. In many cases the investment gives a financial return of around 16%, paying for itself within 7 years.
For more details please call or text the Footprint Trust on (01983) 822282 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
“The Trust, along with members of the IsleHelp Partnership, which consists of the main advisory groups on the Isle of Wight, will be in attendance. All of which are committed to working closer together to enable a better service for all our clients.”
Said Ray Harrington-Vail of The Footprint Trust.
The local Footprint Trust charity recently received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service due to its pioneering work in helping Islanders. Last winter the charity helped dozens of local people by getting their homes insulated or providing energy efficient heating systems. The trust is now to build on this work thanks funding provided through the My Life a Full Life programme, supported by the Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Spectrum Housing, Southern Housing, Comic Relief and The Beatrice Laing Trust.
The Trust’s new project is entitled WarmerWight-plus.
The Trust has identified a wide range of people that it wishes to assist these include; parents with young children, those seeking to live independently having left care, people who are struggling financially due to bereavement or loss, people who have issues with numeracy and literacy, those who are on low income and older people.
The Trust’s staff and volunteers will be found this winter in places where people go, including outside major supermarkets, in social clubs and they will be found in local pubs!
Carole Walker the charity’s chairman said,
“Thanks to this funding we are able to offer a greater service to those in greatest need. We will not just give guidance on saving energy and access to grants for insulation and new heating systems. The reason we are calling the project WarmerWight-plus is that we will be referring people to other agencies to gain assistance on other issues.”
The Trust is recognised locally and nationally as being able to reach those who often go unnoticed and therefore not helped or assisted.
Ray Harrington-Vail of the Trust added,
“We will help people to support and care for themselves and get people back on their feet quickly by giving them information, guidance and support in their own homes. We will be out and about around the Island meeting people….we would welcome an invite to a local club or pub – so we can have informal chats and then arrange a free home visit.”
The WarmerWight-plus project will assist people by the giving the following information;
How to use energy and water wisely and get the best deal
To give people skills to understand their energy bills
Details of ECO and other grants
To signpost to a network of support services
To offer training and volunteering opportunities
*OFGEM November figures
**Data from DECC 2010 shows 9925 households in fuel poverty. Although a report by the Centre for Sustainable Energy puts the figure at 25%, giving the Isle of Wight the highest rate of fuel poor households in the South East.
The My Life, a Full Life programme is a new way of delivering health and social care services on the Island to improve the lives of people needing care and support and help them in their own efforts to remain healthy and well. It is led by the Clinical Commissioning Group, the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, The Isle of Wight Council and a wide range of voluntary and community organisations that provide help and care on the Island. Funding from the programme has been awarded to support the Warmer Wight-plus project, which will work in partnership with local agencies to deliver improved support to people on the Island. For more information on the My Life, a Full Life programme visit www.iwight.com/My-Life-a-Full-Life
The WarmerWight-plus project is funded through the My Life a Full Life programme supported by the Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Spectrum Housing, Southern Housing, Comic Relief and The Beatrice Laing Trust.
Contacts; Ray Harrington-Vail The Footprint Trust charity 01983 822282.
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.
Community Action Awards 2012 – Environmental category.
National Heat Hero Award 2012.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2013.