Changeworks, Scotland’s leading environmental charity, has been awarded £89,982 in funding from the British Gas Energy Trust.
The Trust funds over 45 projects across England, Scotland, and Wales, to offer independent money and energy support to communities in need, ensuring money and energy provision is reaching some of the most at risk groups across Britain.
In 2022-2023 Scottish Trust funded money and energy projects helped over 2400 clients manage £1m in debt, write-off £128k in debt and gain £2m in income.
With funding from the Trust, Changeworks has partnered with the Council for Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisations Scotland (CEMVO Scotland) to combine expertise in delivering energy advice and supporting minoritised ethnic communities.
Thanks to the funding, the nine-month project is also paving the way for an in-depth study on the benefits of making energy advice services more accessible, particularly to those from a minoritised ethnic household.
Changeworks collaborates with partners, organisations, and households across Scotland to tackle fuel poverty and drive transformation in energy efficiency. In 2022/23, they supported over 67,000 householders to take decarbonisation actions, and helped people to save £4.06 million on energy bills or through income maximisation.
Once such person to get help from Changeworks’ Affordable Warmth team, was Mandy*, a single mum from East Lothian.
She had been struggling to pay an energy debt of over £3,600, having found herself unemployed for the first time and not knowing what support was available. Having experienced a severe mental health crisis, she was referred to Changeworks’ Affordable Warmth team by her local Citizens Advice branch.
An adviser helped Mandy receive fuel entitlement vouchers and reduced her energy debt repayments to just £3 per week. The adviser also conducted a home visit, showing her how to reduce the temperature of her boiler, use her thermostat and radiators efficiently and arranged for a more energy efficient refrigerator to be delivered.
About the support, Mandy said “The Changeworks adviser showed me that I shouldn’t be embarrassed to ask for help. And all these wee tips can make a big difference. I couldn’t be more grateful!”
Josiah Lockhart, Chief Executive of Changeworks said: “We are delighted to have received funding from British Gas Energy Trust toward an innovative new project that will help the most under-reached communities in Scotland to receive vital energy advice and advocacy.
“We’re seeing an increased demand for energy advice services as the cost of living crisis impacts a widening demographic. However, our experience is that people from minoritised ethnic groups, despite being in need, are less likely to access these services.
“Energy Saving for All will be a huge step forward in developing inclusive energy advice for all and will provide crucial support where it is needed most.”
Jessica Taplin, CEO of British Gas Energy Trust, said: “We are delighted to be able to fund Changeworks. They are an integral part of their community, having worked with organisations and householders for nearly 40 years.
“Their fantastic strategy of tackling fuel poverty whilst reducing carbon emissions means they are helping both people and planet.”