Community Energy Plus News

Recognition for local fuel poverty fighters

The Cornish charity Community Energy Plus is celebrating after winning a national award for their work to establish and lead the Winter Wellbeing Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Community Energy Plus is one of only nine organisations that were successful in applying for the Community Action Awards, which are run by national fuel poverty charity NEA in partnership with the Department of Energy and Climate Change and British Gas. The awards recognise excellence and innovation in the fields of tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency amongst vulnerable households.

To mark the award win and build on the success of Winter Wellbeing, NEA provided funding for Community Energy Plus to host a fuel poverty round table discussion. Held at The Alverton, Truro on 18th February, the event brought together some of the key individuals within Cornwall with the ability to shape policy and practical delivery of action in response to the challenge of fuel poverty, including Sarah Netwon MP.

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Dr Tim Jones, Chief Executive of Community Energy Plus, said: “I’m delighted that Winter Wellbeing has gained further national recognition for its achievements. It’s a tremendous honour for Community Energy Plus to accept this prestigious award and by hosting a round table discussion we have made some important progress towards the development of a co-ordinated multi-agency strategy to fight fuel poverty in Cornwall.”

Maria Wardrobe, Director of External Affairs at NEA said: “We know that 211,000 households in the South West are estimated to be living in fuel poverty, unable to afford the energy they need to stay warm and healthy in their homes. Community groups and other local organisations play a vital role in helping to identify and assist those who are struggling to heat their homes affordably and I would like to congratulate Community Energy Plus for the excellent work they are undertaking to tackle this problem.”

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Christine Tate, Head of Corporate Responsibility at British Gas said: “In 2012, British Gas spent over £220 million on help for our elderly, disabled and most in need customers. In addition to this direct support for our customers we are pleased to support National Energy Action’s community energy efficiency awards, especially as energy efficiency is the best way customers can keep their homes warmer for less.”

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey said: “The Community Action Award showcases some excellent examples of how promoting energy efficiency can help to reduce bills and improve the thermal comfort for those who need it most in the community.

“There is a lot of help available from Government, such as removing on average £50 from household energy bills and providing support for the most vulnerable through Winter Fuel Payments, Cold Weather Payments and the Warm Home Discount. But if individuals can take control of their energy use, this will have a major impact on keeping warm and cutting bills.”

Winter Wellbeing provides help for those people in fuel poverty who are most at risk of deteriorating health during the winter months. Community Energy Plus’s Freephone advice service (0800 954 1956) provides a central contact point or ‘triage service’ for Winter Wellbeing, allowing customers to access a wide range of services from different organisations with one phone call.