Warmer Wight Plus

Energy help warms up on the Island…

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 about £300 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 01983 822282 or by email at ray@footprint-trust.co.uk”

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.

They will also be giving help by email info@footprint-trust.co.uk, and via their Facebook page and twitter feed.

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.”

In addition to the free home visits, The Trust will be appearing at venues all over the Island ranging from Children’s Centres to local cafes, social clubs to schools and even supermarkets and pubs!

The charity works with other local organisations including the CAB, Age UK and People Matter, to reach those having difficulty with their energy and water bills. The Footprint Trust is part of the Islehelp partnership www.islehelp.org.uk – a group of local advice organisations, who can be contacted on 03444 111 444.

As part of its awareness campaign The Trust is to hold an energy event at the Riverside Centre, Newport (PO20 2QR), on Thursday 26th October 2017, from 11am to 3pm. At this free event people will be able to get advice and information on a wide range of help services, under the banner of the Islehelp partnership.

Staff are also offering their free MONERGY workshops to give people skills to understand their bills. These are held at Community halls, Job Centres and other venues throughout the Island. These are supported by the Isle of Wight Council, with funding provided by the EU European Social Fund.

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.

We would like to thank funders of this project in the recent past, which have helped hundreds of Islanders reduce their energy bills.

Until August 2016 WarmerWight plus helped people struggling with energy bills on the Isle of Wight thanks to funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust.
Up until March 2015 The Footprint Trust had been funded to deliver the Warmer Wight Plus project by the ‘My Life A Full Life’ programme, and has identified estimated savings of more than £100,000 to over 3000 people seen at home visits and at events.