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New fund will train energy advisors for deaf people

Deaf people across the country will soon be able to access clear advice on how to reduce their energy bills, thanks to a grant from the UKs largest electricity distributor.

From Press releases - 1 May 2019 12:00 AM

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The London based charity deafPLUS has been awarded £8,000 by UK Power Networks’ Power Partners fund to train 15 advisors so they can deliver advice to deaf people.  The charity says deaf people are four times more likely to be unemployed, and when they do find work, are often placed in minimum wage jobs*.

The training provided by National Energy Action will equip advisors with the knowledge and skills to help clients with fuel debt to maximize their income and to budget; or to avoid getting into debt. It will lead to a City and Guilds accreditation for the trainees. The grant will also help the charity publish online advice and make a professional British Sign Language (BSL) video on how to get help with fuel debt.

Most of the advice that deafPLUS currently delivers is one to one confidential advice on debt, money management and improving financial literacy via FaceTime and Skype as well as face to face using British Sign Language. They currently work in Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Ealing, Bromley and Croydon in London as well as Birmingham, Bath and Hampshire, and are expanding their advice nationwide.

Gary Williams, CEO of deafPLUS said: “We want to ensure that fewer deaf people are faced with fuel poverty. That is why we are thrilled to have secured a UK Power Networks grant to offer fuel and energy advice to our clients. This funding will allow us to train our advisors to offer energy and fuel advice in BSL.  Making this type of information advice deaf friendly, and therefore accessible, is imperative to ensure fuel poverty in the deaf community is reduced.”

Veronika Karailieva, stakeholder engagement manager for UK Power Networks, said: “We had a fantastic response to our first ever round of applications for our new Power Partners Fund and choosing 16 projects to support was quite a task.

“This project will help make sure deaf people don’t miss out on vital and practical help around energy use and keeping their costs down. deafPlus will put the money to excellent use by delivering a project that will make a lasting contribution in providing extra help and support to some of our most vulnerable customers. Around 1.6 million people live in vulnerable circumstances in the regions we serve, which is why providing advice to reduce energy bills, and help to make community spaces more energy efficient is so important. 

Newly-launched Power Partners is worth £300,000 a year in total. The fund is available to community organisations across the South East, London and East of England that give advice to people in fuel poverty to help them reduce their energy bills or make community spaces more energy efficient through insulation, heating or lighting upgrades.

Power Partners is administered in partnership with leading energy justice charity, the Centre for Sustainable Energy. The next fund is due to be announced shortly. For details on how to apply visit:

*source deafPLUS