Mr S is an elderly man living alone in Midlothian on a modest income. Although he worked when he was younger, he has some mild learning difficulties and values the support of his cousin, especially when it comes to life admin and managing his finances.

Joined up support

Mr S had no central heating or hot water, and had no means to install a new system. His cousin called Home Energy Scotland, which in the South East of Scotland is delivered by Changeworks, in desperation after Mr S had badly scalded himself using kettle water to wash his hair.

He wasn’t eligible for any national schemes, but the Home Energy Scotland advisor referred him to Changeworks’ Affordable Warmth Services (AWS) for further support. Normally the AWS team meet people face to face, but during the COVID-19 pandemic we adapted our services to giving advice remotely.

An initial phone call with a Changeworks advisor discovered that Mr S lived in an all-electric home, and his storage heaters no longer worked. That meant he had no heating or hot water for the last three years.

The changes that were needed

What he really wanted was gas central heating, and the advisor helped him apply to the Midlothian Intervention Fund to make this happen. Further funding was secured to pay for the gas connection, and the AWS team supported Mr S through every step of the process.

That wasn’t the only support we were able to offer – Changeworks’ advisor also applied to the Warm Home Discount for Mr S, and had his electricity meter updated to a modern tariff. Our advisor even spoke to the gas supplier along with his cousin and Mr S to help set up his new account.

Life-changing improvements

Once the gas central heating was installed, the transformation was dramatic. His cousin believes that the work had changed Mr S’s life, and likely extended it too. Mr S had had his first shower in the house since the 1970s! He wasn’t reluctant to get out of bed in the morning, knowing there was a nice warm house to wake up to. He’d even started playing chess again.

In a handwritten note thanking Changeworks, Mr S said “it is now a pleasure for me to open my eyes in the morning – not to a cold house but to warmth, that is not confined to one corner of one room. You’ve certainly brought a great change to my life, a thanks hardly seems enough.”

Changeworks' Affordable Warmth Service Advisors can support you in keeping your home warm and easier to heat. Our friendly team can give you advice on reducing your heating and electricity costs, help you apply for emergency funds, or even speak to your gas or electricity supplier on your behalf.

If you, or someone you work with, could benefit from our support, fill in our simple online referral form and a member of the team will get in touch. Alternatively, our advisors are available for help and advice 9am–5pm Monday to Friday over the phone – call them free on 0800 870 8800.