Riverfest 2022 to sail ahead under new stream!

Isle of Wight Riverfest was launched in 2008 by the Isle of Wight Council. The event was taken over by The Footprint Trust in 2010 and has become the biggest free community event in Newport, attracting some 4,000 people annually.

Continue reading Riverfest 2022 to sail ahead under new stream!

‘Sunshine brings hope for struggling families’

A year of good sunshine on the Isle of Wight has enabled Wight Community Energy (WCE) to make a donation of £8,000 to support the Footprint Trust. The money will be used to assist in tackling fuel and child poverty. Continue reading ‘Sunshine brings hope for struggling families’

Fuel Poverty Day hits Isle of Wight…

National Fuel Poverty Awareness Day – Friday 3rd December 2021

The local Footprint Trust charity are highlighting the fact that some 8,000 homes on the Isle of Wight are in fuel poverty. In reality this means that these householders are spending over ten percent of their meagre incomes on heating poorly insulated homes. Continue reading Fuel Poverty Day hits Isle of Wight…

Trust reports ‘busiest year ever’ as fuel poverty hits Isle of Wight

The local Footprint Trust charity has just celebrated its 19th year in existence and at the recent AGM the company secretary Sue Painting reported that it had just been through its busiest year to date.

She reported that the charity had the following Key Achievements in the last financial year which befitted many of those suffering the effects of fuel poverty;

  • Over 1400 people benefitted from guidance on reducing energy and water use and keeping utility bills down
  • Over 350 ‘Phone Visits’ this year
  • Average saving of £277 per household
  • £133,000 identified in annual energy savings for our clients this year
  • 700,000 Kilowatt Hours of energy saved
  • £24,000 worth of energy efficient white goods given to fuel poor households
  • Over 160 front-line workers trained in helping those in fuel poverty
  • Cut around 169 tonnes of CO2 emissions

The charity was set up in 2002 to reduce the ecological footprint of the Isle of Wight and to promote sustainable living. The Trust was born out of a desire to take action to respond to the ‘Ecological Footprint Analysis of the Isle of Wight’, published in 1999. In practical terms the charity particularly helps those in fuel poverty, by promoting energy and water efficiency which in turn cuts CO2 emissions.
They are recipients of the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the MBE for charities, for their pioneering work in the community. Recently they received the Vulnerable Customer Support Campaigner of the Year accolade in the regional Energy Efficiency Awards.

This year saw one of its longstanding supporters and trustee director retire from the Board in June. Dr Hugh Walding had been active in environmental circles for many years and brought his knowledge to the Trust. Sue Painting on behalf of the charity summed feelings in this message to Hugh;

“Trustees and team members alike have expressed how much your faith in the Trust during the formative years meant to them and how much your help, guidance and consistent support is appreciated.”

The Covid pandemic led to the charity immediately ceasing their home visits and outreach and bringing in social distancing and hygiene measures in their office, along with home working. The Board and staff acted quickly and sought assurances from funders. The charity came up with new ways of working so that they could support their clients and the wider community during the months ahead. They changed home visits into pre- booked ‘Phone Visits’ – asking leading questions to ascertain the help needed.

This was followed up with information sent by post or by email. Their helpline on social media platforms continued to give support and guidance to the community. The charity increased advertising and promotion through local newspapers and radio. They moved our ‘Monergy’ workshops and our frontline worker training on line using Teams and Zoom.

Their General Manager, Ray Harrington-Vail, said,

“This year saw our busiest winter since the Trust was launched, our service to the fuel poor, was in great demand. An Institute for Fiscal Studies report in June 2020 highlighted that the Isle of Wight would be one of the hardest hit areas of England, due to the economical down turn caused by the Covid pandemic, effecting health, jobs and families.”

The Trust continued to work with a diverse range of formal and informal partner organisations during the Covid crises. They are founder members of Islehelp, a grouping of the main advice and information agencies on the Isle of Wight. The organisations they work with include; Citizens Advice, Age UK, veteran charities, family centres, Food banks, Social services, Health Visitors, Carers, social and private landlords, churches, schools and local councils.

The Board expressed their thanks to the many different funders which have made the Trust’s work possible.

The Board heard an example of one of the many local people assisted.

Feedback from a complex ‘Phone Visit’…

 *Kevin had been discharged from hospital and had accrued water debt due to a leak, his boiler was not working either so he couldn’t stay warm which was affecting his mental and physical recovery. With additional funds we were able to pay for an engineer to repair the leak – preventing future high bills – and check the boiler. As the boiler was unrepairable, we referred Kevin to the ECO boiler scheme and referred him to the Southern Water Affordability Team to work out an affordable payment plan going forward.

“…you’ve lightened my load mate, I’ve been stressing on this, been really, really helpful. Could never thank you enough for all your hard work. I really couldn’t.”

Kevin’s nurse thanked us for cutting his utility bill cut by £1000, and for giving her the knowledge on how to deal with his energy dispute. “.You have no idea the difference this has made to Kevin.” She added.


To find out more about the Trust’s work on the Isle of Wight visit their website

www.footprint-trust.co.uk or for assistance or guidance on energy matters call them on 01983 822282.


“Winter is Coming – and we are here to help…” message from Island charities

More than a dozen local organisations are coming together to offer assistance to help Islanders combat the effects of the cold, increased energy prices, rising inflation, upping of National Insurance, cuts to benefits, job losses and poorly insulated homes.

The Winter Is Coming event will take place at the popular Riverside Centre on Newport Quay on Thursday 14th October 2021 from, 9.30am to 1.30pm. Those attending are asked to follow Covid guidance on hygiene and to wear face coverings.

 In the afternoon from 2pm to 4pm the event will go online,  details here

The event is organised by the local Footprint Trust and Citizens Advice IW with their Islehelp partners, who will be in attendance. Other organisations attending include; AgeUK IW, People Matter – Team Around the Person, IW NHS Trust, Southern Water, Foodbank, Adult Community Learning.

Toni from Team Around the Person said; ‘It will be a great opportunity to see people face to face and let them know about how we can help in the coming months…’

Those attending the free event will be able to get guidance and information on benefits and money, grants, allowances, support for mental health along with cutting energy and water bills.

The organisers are particularly pleased that the local NHS Technology Enabled Care team will be on hand to explain and show the various assistive technology devices available for remote home monitoring.

The event has been made possible thanks to sponsorship from the Utilita Energy who have shown a commitment to the Island by opening a Hub in Newport High Street.

The local Footprint Trust charity will be on hand to give tailored guidance on energy matters following the massive price rises and collapse on many utility companies. Anyone needing immediate assistance with their utility costs should contact the Trust on 822282. Those with concerns over money matters or benefits and allowances should contact Islehelp on 08001 448848.

Speaking for The Footprint Trust, Ray Harrington-Vail said;

“Many people of the Island were already struggling to make ends meet, making choices between eating or heating in the wake of the energy price rises. This last twelve months was our busiest ever, due to Covid and the associated economic downturn. We assisted nearly 2000 people in various ways, helping them to cut their utility bills…”

The work of The Footprint Trust supported by Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme, the National Lottery Reaching Community fund and SSE Networks.

Keep Warm – Keep Well

Real tips to save energy, save money and keep well…

“There is lots of advice given over social media about saving energy, but not all of it is correct, and some just repeats old myths. One is that most of your body’s heat escapes through your head. It doesn’t! Only about 10% is lost through your head. Wearing a hat is a good idea but more important to wear layers of clothing.”

Says Island resident and National Heat Hero, Ray Harrington-Vail, who works for the local Footprint Trust charity.

Another one is that most of the heat escapes from the roof or windows of your home, both wrong. Walls account for around 33% of heat loss, roof about 26% and windows around 18%. Good idea to insulate the whole house to really save money, the cost paid back in 5 years. Double glazing a good idea but payback will take much longer, but will also make your home more secure.

The debate about what temperature to keep your home is repeated every winter. Ideally you should try and keep some heating in all rooms, this helps prevent damp. But if you are on a limited budget then this is unrealistic.


If you are fit and young then the NHS suggests that you do not need to keep your home at a minimum of 18C. In fact they suggest your children’s bedroom should be between 16C and 20C. Young children and babies can be put in danger from overheating. The NHS comments on the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, “Babies don’t need hot rooms. All-night heating is rarely necessary. Keep the room at a temperature that’s comfortable for you at night – about 18C (65F) is ideal.”

For older people or for those with medical issues then keeping their living space and bedroom between 18C and 21C is recommended.

Lock the heat into your living space and bedroom, don’t waste money heating the hall or corridor. Keep doors closed.

For rooms not being used, then keep the heat on low, leave cupboard doors and drawers slightly open to allow air-flow. Try to open the window for a 10 minutes every day, to ventilate vacant rooms.

Ventilation must also be thought of to reduce infection levels in the home from flu or air-borne viruses such as Covid. Regular airing of inhabited rooms by opening windows for short periods of time can be effective at reducing concentrations of viruses in the air. SAGE have suggested having them open for 10 minutes every hour.

If you have gas central heating use it, don’t be fooled by marketing spin that electric heating is cheaper, it isn’t. Likewise with Night Storage Heaters, don’t use more expensive stand-alone heaters, and avoid unvented portable gas heaters. Get a carbon monoxide alarm for each room with a gas appliance, boiler or sold fuel burner. Have you boiler serviced every year to keep you safe, save energy and to make it last longer.

Some of grandma’s old tips are as relevant today as they were yesterday. So closing thick curtains at dusk will help prevent heat loss through windows. We now also have the option of fitting much cheaper thermal blackout blinds, which can be purchase from a number of on-line retailers. Charity shops can be a good place to find thick curtains when they reopen. Making a ‘door sausage’ to prevent draughts from blowing under your door is a winner. These can be made from a leg of an old pair of jeans or trousers, then stuffed with other old rags.

The Footprint Trust tells hundreds of Islanders every year about the £140 Warm Home Discount. Those receiving guarantee pension credit automatically get this sum taken off their electricity bill, providing they are with a leading supplier. Other householders have to apply to their energy company. So important to contact your utility company and see if you qualify.

Other free help is also available from water and energy companies through their Priority Services Register. This is for any household that has a vulnerable person living there. In the event of power or water failure you will be contacted to see if you need help. This can be done on line; https://www.ssen.co.uk/psr/southernwater/    or by phone on 0800 294 3259.

The Footprint Trust charity has been helping local people throughout the pandemic via its helpline on 822282. They have provided over £10,000 worth of grants to help people with energy issues.

Their work is funded by a number of bodies including; The National Lottery Community Fund, Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme, HM Government and the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation. Individual donations and those from the business community have also assisted their work.


The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF) has launched the Surviving Winter 2020-2021 campaign to help tackle fuel poverty for older and vulnerable people struggling to keep warm at winter time.