Local charity helps over 1700 residents

The Trustees of the local Footprint Trust charity have praised their staff for assisting over 1,700 vulnerable ‘fuel poor’ Islanders, during the last year, through more effective use of energy in their homes. The recent Annual General Meeting of the charity also reported that a total of £114,000 had been saved by clients thanks to the expert guidance of staff, which also lead to huge reductions in CO2. In total some 340 households were visited. People were given tailored guidance and information on correct use of appliances and heating systems, grants for insulation and white goods, along with discounts on utilities and help with switching suppliers. Frontline worker training was provided to staff and volunteers from other organisations, to bring about greater understanding of fuel poverty on the Island. Monergy workshops were held in a number of venues giving people skills to cut their bills.

One of the many case studies was shared highlighting how *Claire had been assisted by the Trust.

“*Claire is a single parent of a young girl. Her privately rented accommodation has gas central heating but with a system boiler. The Electricity was on a prepayment meter, with debt being repaid at an unaffordable weekly rate. We spoke with the company, changed the rate and the tariff, and applied for the Warm Home Discount of £140.  The visit highlighted that the gas central heating was not being used much at all, with plug in electric heaters used instead, so we were able to explain the high costs involved and savings that could be made. We explained the gas central heating programmable controls, and how to make use of thermostatic radiator valves. In addition, the hot water tank was poorly lagged, and the loft hatch was being routinely left open. We explained the reasons to change this, to save money, and to be more comfortable in the home.

We provided a free hot water tank jacket. There was considerable debt on the gas account too, it was a credit meter but had not been read for a long time. It was in the wrong name and on a costly tariff. We negotiated a plan, to set up an affordable way forward, and put her on a cheaper tariff.”

Reported Laura Stichbury, the Assistant Manager of the Trust.

The charity already holds the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the MBE for charities, for their pioneering work in the community. This year the Trust won the 2020 Vulnerable Customer Support Campaigner of the Year accolade in the regional Energy Efficiency Awards.

The success of the charity’s work was however tinged with some sadness with the loss of their highly regarded colleague Helen Williams. Helen was the friendly voice giving guidance over the phone to our clients, and giving support and training to staff and sharing her many years of experience in her many caring roles. Helen came to work for the Trust following a long career in the private and public sectors. She brought her experience on green transport, working on school travel plans and encouraging people to explore their local environment through walking, via her Acorn Steps project. Having been a mum on low income she was well qualified to give practical guidance to young parents in a similar position struggling with energy bills. She put her vivacious and energetic personality into all of the projects she delivered and used her excellent people skills to encourage and support both team members and clients. Helen faced her cancer diagnosis with tenacity, humour and unblinking positivity. As she became more unwell, she trained others to take over her many roles within the charity. She gradually worked fewer hours until finally she was admitted to the hospice for the last time. She died in March 2020, aged 59.

The meeting thanked the Daisie Rich Trust and the town, parish and community councils which support the Trust’s work.  Wight Community Energy assisted with funding home energy visits, the People’s Postcode Trust contributed towards staff and other core costs. SSE Networks Resilient Communities Fund funding expanded work in remote areas of the Island effected by power outages and rural isolation. The Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme commenced funding fuel poverty prevention and relief through outreach, training and practical guidance. The Trustees also expressed thanks to the many individuals who have made donations which has helped fund extra help to many vulnerable local people, further assisted by the Hampshire & IW Community Foundation. Many other national charitable bodies also gave grants, which are listed in the annual accounts.

Anyone with concerns about their utility bills can contact The Footprint Trust by email info@footprint-trust.co.uk or by phone (01983) 822282.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Energy matters and self-isolation

The Island’s Footprint Trust have issued some helpful guidance on energy supply during the current coronavirus pandemic.

The Trust’s General Manager, Ray Harrington-Vail said;

“It is important that we look out for vulnerable people in our community, and take precautions not to introduce infection, for this reason we are ceasing home energy visits at this time.”


“There are number of ways people can help vulnerable people and we are focusing on pre-payment energy meters. These meters have to be ‘topped-up’ using a card or ‘key’ at a local shop or supermarket. Clearly some people may not be able to do this. Many of the meters are in boxes outside of the home, and can be accessed without having direct contact with a vulnerable person.”


Prepayment Meters

If you have a prepayment meter that doesn’t have the ability to be topped up remotely, there are steps we advise you to take should you feel unwell or need to self-isolate.

To make sure your energy supply isn’t affected:
Consider topping up your meter with more than your normal amount.

Talk to friends, family and neighbours who live close to you as they might be able to top up your key or card for you

If your meter is outside of your home, consider leaving your meter box unlocked if it’s safe to do so, so that a friend, family member or neighbour can access it and top up for you

Ask your energy company for a Smart Prepayment meter, you can then top up your meters credit via the energy company’s app, or online

Consider paying for your energy directly from your bank account, you may also get a cheaper deal



Priority Service Register

The Trust urges anyone who is over 60 years old or has a medical condition to register on the free Priority Service Register, with their energy and water companies.

This can be done online www.ssen.co.uk/PriorityServicesRegister/

or by phone 0800 294 3259 or Text phone 0800 316 5457

For more guidance contact the Footprint Trust on 01983 822282 or info@footprint-trust.co.uk


Information and useful tips will be put on their website footprint-trust.co.uk and their Facebook page facebook.com/footprinttrust


Press Release The Footprint Trust immediate

16 March 2020


‘Winter is Coming’ event helps hundreds

Hundreds of people came to the successful ‘Winter Is Coming’ event on Thursday 10th October at Newport’s popular Riverside Centre. A cross section of local and national organisations were on hand to give guidance and help on a wide range of matters.  The Footprint Trust assisted householders with high energy bills, Citizens Advice were there giving guidance on money matters and financial help.  The overriding message was that Islanders to be prepared for winter. In attendance were also; Veterans Outreach, Southern Gas Networks and Southern Water, Utilita, SSAFA and the Isle of Wight Council Trading Standards.

The Footprint Trust were giving guidance on energy saving, discounts and grants from utility companies, along with information on Switching and gaining the best deal from utility suppliers. They were highlighting the need to prepared for extreme weather and will be encouraging those attending to sign up to the Priority Service Registers of SSE Networks and the utility companies. Southern Water were publicising their Priority Service Register and the Watersure tariff, to assist those on low income or have disability issues.

SGN were informing people about their free locking cooker valve, which helps keep people living with dementia and other disabilities gas safe in their own homes. For those who missed the event, more information can be found on line www.sgn.co.uk/LCV or by calling 0800 9751818.

People Matter were chatting about the support available to keep people living independently. Storeroom2010 were marketing their pre-loved furniture, which assists people on tight budgets to affordably furnish their homes.

Veterans Outreach Support were informing veterans and family members about their welfare work and psychology

ical support. They were joined by SSAFA which provides financial and other support to those from the veteran community.

Trading Standards were prompting the Trader Approved scheme and highlighting scams and how to avoid them. The “Isle Find It” website was explained, a great new internet service which leads those using it to the relevant help agency or organisation.

Anyone who missed the event can contact the Islehelp partnership through Citizens Advice on 0344 111 444. For help with energy and water bills The Footprint Trust can be contacted on 01983 822282 or email info@footprint-trust.co.uk

Winter Is Coming, is one of many outreach events that The Footprint Trust will be attending as part of their Power Plan project supported by Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks Resilient Communities Fund the Charles Hayward Foundation and The Leathersellers’ Company Charitable Fund.

Islanders will get more for their Monergy!

The Island’s Footprint Trust charity will be able to help over 1,000 people reduce their energy and water bills thanks to a windfall from the People’s Postcode Lottery, The Ebico Trust, Santander Foundation and ongoing support from Garfield Weston Foundation and The Beatrice Laing Trust. Continue reading Islanders will get more for their Monergy!