Power Force is a new project from the Island’s Footprint Trust aimed at directly helping the ex-service community on the Isle of Wight who are suffering the effects of fuel poverty.
A survey carried out by The Royal British Legion (TRBL), in 2014 found that two in ten of the ex-Service community had turned the heating down or off, despite it being too cold (a measure of fuel poverty). TRBL state that there is a potential for greater poverty in the ex-Service pensioner community than in the UK as a whole.
The Footprint Trust will outreach to Veterans and their families through local TRBL branches, public events, cafes, social clubs etc. Anyone who has been in the Services, or their family members or dependents can be assisted.
The Trust attended the recent Armed Forces Event (17th June 2017) on Ryde seafront, and meet Veterans and their families.
Ray Harrington-Vail of the Footprint Trust said;
“We are very keen to hear from younger people those who have recently left the armed forces, and might not be aware of help available from ourselves and Royal British Legion.”
“Our work in the past has often brought us in touch with the widows whose late husbands’ did National Service, and were unaware that they too could be assisted. ”
Experts from the Trust are offering ex-service people free home energy-saving visits, and will give information on grants and other help available to reduce energy and water bills.
They are also looking for individuals who are interested in training as the “Power Force” to work within their community in local TRBL branches, residents groups, social clubs, churches etc. These volunteers will be given training so they can help others reduce their utility bills, and get further help and assistance. To find out more about the project please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 822282.
Speaking for the Footprint Trust their National Heat Hero, Ray Harrington-Vail said;
“A very important part of our work is helping those who are in fuel poverty. We assist over 1000 local people a year through guidance and support, saving many households some £200 pa on their utility bills and accessing grants for energy efficiency measures.
In the past we have helped many people in the ex-services community, and their families, and are now able to expand that work, due to increased demands. We are very grateful to The Royal British Legion for making this possible through their external grants programme.”
One person who has benefited is Mr Chris Pitman, an ex-serviceman living in Newport:-
“I find it hard to ask for help but saw the ad for The Footprint Trust’s Energy Event and went along for help with my heating. They came round to my house, and it didn’t take them long to suss out what I needed, and they did it in a way which was not in my face. I think there are lots of people who need help and who are being by-passed – but The Footprint Trust will definitely help, and if they can’t they seem to know who can.”
The charity was given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (2013) for their pioneering work in helping the fuel poor and the wider community. They are recognised by the Isle of Wight Council and central government for their achievements in assisting those in fuel poverty.
Fuel poverty is generally defined as any household which spends 10% or more of their income on fuel for their home. The current level of fuel poverty on the Island is higher than the rest of South east England.