COMMUNITY action charity, Groundwork, has been awarded a £3million grant from the Cadent Foundation to support the expansion of its Green Doctors programme as part of a new three-year strategic partnership.
Green Doctors are energy efficiency experts helping vulnerable households across the UK to stay warm and well, save money on their household bills and improve energy efficiency at home. With 1 in 10 households in the UK experiencing fuel poverty, it’s a crucial lifeline for many.
The £3 million grant will enable Groundwork to expand and enhance its established Green Doctor programme, deploying trained advisors in at least ten priority locations, providing high-quality energy cost-saving advice to thousands of vulnerable households.
Green Doctors will visit people in their homes (once COVID restrictions allow), provide remote support (by telephone and online), attend community events, deliver energy efficiency advice, promote behaviour change, and install energy-saving and warm home measures. They will also work with other services to provide rounded support to vulnerable households, including onward referrals to maximise benefit claims, address home safety issues and tackle food poverty.
Some of the services offered by the Green Doctors include identifying causes of heat loss in the home, helping to identify and tackle damp or mould problems, offering useful tips for saving energy, installing small energy efficiency measures, such as draft excluders and supporting people to switch energy providers to save money.
Graham Duxbury, National Chief Executive of Groundwork, said:
“Groundwork is delighted to have the support of the Cadent Foundation to deliver such a worthwhile project. This is the largest grant we have ever received for our Green Doctors programme, and it will undoubtedly have a huge impact on some of the most vulnerable people across Cadent’s network.
“Around 4 million people in the UK are in fuel poverty, unable to afford to live in a warm, dry home. With more people at home, increased utility costs, and unemployment rising due to the pandemic’s financial impact, more families will be experiencing extreme financial hardship and the emotional strain of keeping themselves and their loved ones well.
“Working with priority groups such as young people and families, low-income households, residents of poor housing and those suffering ill health, this new partnership will help vulnerable households boost their income by saving energy so that they can live more comfortably and reduce their environmental impact.”
In the first year, the project aims to support at least 3,000 vulnerable households through Green Doctor consultations, deliver at least 300 training events in local communities and install 9000 small energy-saving measures to achieve annual cost savings amongst vulnerable households of up to £465,000.
Camil accessed the Green Doctors’ services in February 2021. He said:
“My partner died just before Christmas, and I have been really struggling for money as I’ve been on furlough and so only receiving 80% of my usual wage. At the same time, I found out my benefits had been overpaid, and I needed to find the money to repay them. I was really scared and just didn’t know where to turn to.
“My neighbour contacted a local councillor who referred me on to the Green Doctors. The Green Doctor contacted me and not only helped me get the benefits payments written off but gave me an energy consultation to reduce my bills. I’m grateful because the support really took the pressure off, and I feel more felt able to cope financially. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted, and I can finally get some sleep.”
Julia Dwyer, Director of the Cadent Foundation, said:
“Supporting people out of fuel poverty is one of the fundamental objectives of the Cadent Foundation, and this new partnership with Groundwork will offer free, practical help and advice to thousands of people. With one in ten people across the UK struggling to heat their home, it’s vital to ensure that money and resources are available to support individuals and families in some of the worst-hit areas.
“We’re delighted to support Groundwork’s Green Doctors programme and look forward to working with them closely over the next three years to help lift people out of fuel poverty.”
The Cadent Foundation is funded by the local gas network Cadent. It has been established to support projects large and small that help people living in vulnerable situations and energy-poor communities, protect and preserve the natural environment and support in creating a sustainable energy future for all.
More information can be found at: www.cadentfoundation.com.
For more information on Groundwork’s Green Doctors programme, together with tips and advice on keeping your home warm this winter, please visit: www.groundwork.org.uk.