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£800,000 to support the most vulnerable during Covid-19

Thousands of people currently struggling to pay energy bills while at home and out of work, are set to benefit after a community scheme was today re-purposed to help those most affected by Covid-19.

From Press releases - 23 April 2020 10:00 AM

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Community organisations and charities which help households in *fuel poverty, can now apply for a share in a £300,000 fuel poverty innovation scheme by UK Power Networks. The news comes just days after the company also led a collaboration of eight utilities to donate £500,000 to 21 Community Foundations which help local good causes across the South East.

Through the newly-repurposed £300,000 Power Partners scheme, support is now available to organisations who have found new ways to help many people facing fuel poverty particularly during the current travel restrictions.

Kerry Potter consumer vulnerability manager for UK Power Networks, which delivers electricity to 8.3 million homes and businesses, said: “In direct response to the current Covid-19 circumstances, we are making fuel poverty the primary focus of our Power Partners scheme. 

“We’re always keen to find innovative ways to adapt our community support, and leading the collaboration to give £500,000 to Community Foundations was an example of regional utilities working together for local communities, through local partnerships. Power Partners is also about developing partnerships which deliver real help locally. 

 “In the current climate of self-isolation more people will be struggling with their bills and unable to go to 'safe' community places to get advice and support. Through Power Partners we can work with local charities and organisations who have found effective ways to help people in vulnerable circumstances both during the lockdown and afterwards, and make a real difference.”

When Power Partners launched last year it was designed to help alleviate fuel poverty and also fund energy efficiency improvements for community buildings. The scheme benefited 24 organisations including:

CREW Energy in London trained energy advisors to help run regular ‘energy cafes’, supporting vulnerable residents in Wandsworth, Merton and Lambeth (£13,270)

The charity deafPLUS trained 15 advisors to help deaf clients with fuel debt to maximise their income and to budget, or to avoid getting into debt.  The funding also meant they could publish online advice and make a professional British Sign Language (BSL) video on how to get help with fuel debts (£8,000)

Community energy cooperative Energise Sussex Coast is using an electric van funded by Power Partners to distributed food supplies to people who are ill and self-isolating using an electric van funded by Power Partners. Further plans are also underway to support families with children don't get free school meals (£15,000)

Power Partners is administered in partnership with leading energy justice charity the Centre for Sustainable Energy.  Applications are now open to charities and community organisations across London, the East and South East until midnight on May 17. For more information and application forms see https://www.cse.org.uk/projects/view/1356