“Winter is coming and it is time to act now!” says Island energy charity.

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 up to £200 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 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.

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.”

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.


*name changed to protect client.

The Footprint Trust is a local charity founded in 2002 on the Isle of Wight. It assists over 2,000 people a year through its work in energy conservation. The charity also involves people in a whole range of projects that enhance the environment.

National Heat Hero Award 2012
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2013
SHG Partnership Working Award 2014
Big Energy Saving Network Champions 2015, 2016