Tackling fuel poverty in Barking & Dagenham

Working with The Cadent Foundation, LA’s, GP’s & community organisations to create tailored fuel poverty solutions to benefit the Barking and Dagenham community.

We are delighted to have secured a £102,714 grant from the Cadent Foundation this month to pilot important new initiatives to help tackle fuel poverty within the Barking and Dagenham community. With a mission to help households find sustainable solutions in tackling fuel poverty, ensuring people are safe and warm in their homes, the Cadent Foundation funding will support us in creating an innovative new model to identify where fuel poverty invention needs to take place, specifically targeting vulnerable communities with health issues.

Barking and Dagenham is Care City’s home and it’s heartbreaking to see so many of our neighbours unable to heat their homes and experience exacerbated health problems as a result. But it’s not all doom and gloom – Barking and Dagenham has incredible assets from engaged residents and a very active VCSE sector to a council and health services who are working hard to improve lives across the borough.

We are delighted to be working with The Cadent Foundation to bring these people together to deliver a solution by, with, and for the community which empowers them to help themselves, their neighbours and beyond. Through a process of co-development and co-delivery, we will ensure that community need and voice remains at the heart of this approach and ensures sustainability beyond this project.

According to Government statistics (Sub-regional fuel poverty 2020) one in five households in the Barking and Dagenham area are unable to heat their homes compared to the national average, which can have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health.

Studies also show that local residents have a lower-than-average life expectancy, at 57.2 years for males and 57.1 for females. Working closely with local authorities, GP’s and community organisations, and powered by new and targeted research, we will implement bespoke fuel poverty solutions, such as providing financial assistance with managing energy costs, advice on reducing energy use and support on energy efficiency measures, all of which will be community-led. Furthermore, this pilot will also signpost households to other related services, creating a one-stop-shop for fuel poverty advice. This pioneering approach will not only deliver positive outcomes but also provide learnings and best practice to use across the borough.

The NHS in England spends £1.3 billion each year treating preventable conditions caused by cold, damp homes, adding more pressure to strained NHS services. Now, with rising costs of energy pushing more communities into fuel poverty, the need for this type of project has never been greater and we’re pleased to support Care City to provide tailored support for local residents.

We know there isn’t a quick fix and one size doesn’t fit all, so we hope this innovative approach will deliver impactful, co-designed, fuel poverty solutions which address the needs of the local community and have a positive lasting impact, helping them to make more informed decisions and ultimately, feel more in control of their lives.

It is hoped that the interventions identified will not only have significant impact locally but could also provide a sustainable model for wider UK roll-out.

Julia Dwyer, Director of the Cadent Foundation

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