Our Affordable Warmth Services Advisors work with local Citizens’ Advice Bureaux Income Maximisation Officers and Home Energy Scotland Advisors across Inverness, Badenoch, Strathspey, Ross and Cromarty Highland regions. Working together we holistically tackle fuel poverty issues that often very vulnerable people are living with. Great impacts are achieved this way, as one rural householder found out. 

Desperately cold lady

Recently we supported Mary* who was living alone and cold in temperatures regularly below 12⁰C. Mary was afraid to use her heating as her boiler was very old, inefficient and costly to run, and she did not want to get into debt with her energy supplier. To cope she put boards up against her back door and towels against the other doors to keep the draughts out. She found it hard to get out of bed each morning because the house was so cold. The constant worry about not being able to pay her energy bills was harming Mary’s health.

Warmer home achieved

Changeworks, Citizens’ Advice and Home Energy Scotland worked together to support Mary to be affordably warm in her home and to save over £6,800.

Citizens’ Advice carried out an income maximisation assessment and helped Mary apply for Attendance Allowance. The application was initially declined, but the Income Maximisation Officer successfully appealed this decision and Mary’s payments were backdated. She will now receive an extra £2,470 a year to help her manage her health conditions.

Changeworks’ Affordable Warmth Advisor looked at Mary’s energy costs, submitted a meter reading and after speaking to her energy supplier, reduced her direct debit payments as the bills had been overestimated. This meant that Mary could afford to put her heating on more. Our advisor also successfully applied for a £200 ‘Turn 2 Us’ grant to help Mary with ongoing energy costs.

Our advisor referred Mary to Home Energy Scotland to access support from Warmer Homes Scotland to upgrade her heating system as she is now receiving Attendance Allowance. Mary has now received a fully funded new gas central heating system, radiators and new back door equivalent to over £3,500. Due to the increased efficiency of the new boiler and reduced heat loss from the new back door, Mary will also achieve £129 additional savings in reduced energy costs. 

Delighted householder 

Thank you, for everything you have done for me. For all your outstanding hard work to provide me with a warm home I so desperately needed. It has made such a massive difference to my life. I no longer worry about the cold. I will for ever be thankful to you both, for your kindness to me for the care you gave me, for listening and for giving me hope. You have both fought so hard for this for me. I am so very very grateful and thank you both from the bottom of my heart.

Mary, Highlands

The Rural Affordable Warmth service in the Highlands is made possible by funding from ScottishPower and E.on.

Contact our Affordable Warmth Services team

If you are struggling to heat your home or pay your heating and electricity bills, contact our Affordable Warmth Services team on 0800 870 8800 (free) or email warmth@changeworks.org.uk

To refer a client to our services, complete an online referral form or download the form and send via email, or call us on 0800 870 8800.

*Householder’s name changed to protect their privacy.