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New grant will help deaf people fight fuel poverty

Hundreds of deaf people in Essex, London, and Kent using British Sign Language (BSL) will get advice and support to help fight *fuel poverty thanks to a £20,000 grant from Power Partners.

From Press releases - 27 July 2020 12:00 AM

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The Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD), will use the grant from UK Power Networks’ Power Partners scheme to train energy ambassadors, hold workshops and create videos for BSL users over the next year.

The charity will be targeting this hard-to-reach community including deaf people who have additional disabilities as well as those who live in cold, damp homes. The aim is to increase their understanding of electricity services, which will help them be more independent and confident in dealing with power providers.

The projects will include face-to-face energy advice and one-to-one support for deaf people who use BSL as their first or preferred language, living in the charity’s newly-covered area of Kent.

Clients will also be encouraged to sign up for free help through UK Power Networks’ Priority Services Register aimed at supporting them in the rare event of a power cut. 

Sue Mountford, joint chief executive, Royal Association for Deaf people said: “We are delighted to have received funding from UK Power Networks for Power Partners. Our colleagues are very much looking forward to commencing training and becoming Energy Ambassadors – supporting vulnerable and isolated deaf people to become more energy-aware. This funding will enable us to extend our reach by offering on-going advice via our bank of BSL resources and remote workshops – and provide face-to-face energy advice to the Kent and Medway Deaf Community.” 

Kerry Potter, consumer vulnerability manager at UK Power Networks, said: “Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we re-purposed the Power Partners scheme to help the growing number of people are facing the prospect of fuel poverty.

“We understand how for some this will be the first time they might need to reach out for support as their financial and social circumstances have recently changed.

It’s now available to organisations who find new ways to help those facing fuel poverty and the need to go to ‘safe’ community places to get advice and support.

“Many organisations need additional funding to adapt their operation for the current times. Power Partners is about developing partnerships to deliver real help to the local communities we serve.”

*Fuel poverty means being unable to afford to keep your home warm and dry.