Hastings Advice & Representation Centre and Energise South Coast have received a financial grant from the British Gas Energy Trust to work together in supporting those impacted by fuel poverty and energy debt as a result of the pandemic. 

The grant will be used to create the Welfare, Benefits & Energy Advice project to help local people on low incomes manage their energy needs through accessing welfare, benefits and energy advice. This nine-month project aims to address the multiple challenges people might face this winter. 

As Jacky Everard, Chief Executive of Hastings Advice & Representation Centre, explains, people in their sector have been extremely worried about the additional issues people are likely to face as a result of the pandemic this winter. “Whether it’s residents facing a reduced income as they have lost their job or are not able to work.” 

She also pointed out that those spending more time at home will need to use their heating more. “The British Gas Energy Trust fund will enable us to help people when they need it most.” 

The Chair of British Gas Energy Trust, Helen Charlton, emphasised the importance of additional funding for organisations that provide frontline money and give energy advice this Autumn: “Many vulnerable households are facing a financial precipice, these new grants will ensure additional money and energy advice is available to support individuals and families in some of the worse hit areas.”

The British Gas Energy Trust has provided financial grants to nine regional energy and money consumer advice charities as part of its Covid Response Fund. The Trustees decided to create the £800,000 Covid Response Fund, announced in July 2020, to help the smaller frontline, charitable advice providers support households identified by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) as being most impacted by Covid-19.

The projects will run from October 2020 until Summer 2021. Grants are awarded immediately to enable all organisations to commence activities. Anyone wishing to apply for support should contact Andrea by email on [email protected] or phone 07923 236782.

For further information on the Welfare, Benefits & Energy Advice project, contact Jacky Everard (Hastings Advice & Representation Centre) on 01424 452630 (direct) or email [email protected] 

For further information on the COVID Response Fund and the other projects, contact Jessica Taplin (CEO, British Gas Energy Trust) [email protected]

Hastings Advice & Representation Centre (HARC) provides free confidential advice, information and representation to over 14,000 people in a typical year, raising over £4m in unclaimed, enhanced and reinstated benefits. 

Energise Sussex Coast is a Community Energy Cooperative providing local residents with energy advice since 2012. Energise Sussex Coast has helped thousands of local people save money and energy. Energise Sussex Coast also works to reduce carbon by increasing the amount of community-owned solar power.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. The future of our volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. You can also support local journalism by becoming a friend of HIP. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.