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Press Office
0113 322 7950

Out of hours: 0113 322 7978

Stakeholder Relations Team

stakeholder@northerngas.co.uk

Staying warm and healthy

We’re committed to helping our more vulnerable customers stay warm; budget effectively and look after their health.

With fuel poverty still a pressing issue in our region, we exceeded our targets for providing free gas connections to some of our poorest customers in 2016/17, and provided a range of additional support, such as free home energy audits.

We developed new partnerships with charities and training providers, allowing us to engage parts of the community that might otherwise be beyond our reach.

And we worked with specialists to train more of our own colleagues, so that they can better advise customers who are struggling with life’s essentials.

Outputs - a detailed look

This table takes a detailed look at our performance in 2016/17. Simply click the yellow tooltip to read a brief commentary on what the statistic means, and how we did.

Connections Target
2013/14
2014/15
2015/16
2016/17
Status
Number of fuel poor connections
?

We exceeded our target for providing gas connections to some of our poorest customers, delivering 2626 free connections.

1,917
1,164
1,707
2,458
2,626
Ahead

Case studies

We’re involved in a range of activity to help our customers stay warm and support those living in fuel poverty.

Community Promises

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Eleven grass-roots initiatives are flourishing, thanks to our new Community Promises scheme, which provides funding for worthwhile grass roots initiatives.

Beneficiaries of our 2016/17 funding programme include Yeadon Air Cadets, who are developing their own Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors, in a project that raises awareness about the dangers of CO, while developing digital programming skills.

Syrian Community of Leeds, which supports refugees fleeing from war, are using Community Promises funding to provide money and energy saving advice to families.

Yorkshire Energy Doctor, a community interest company which tackles fuel poverty, is using our funding to deliver a project to help residents make their homes warmer and healthier.

Sally-Anne Greenfield, from Leeds Community Foundation, who is working with us on the programme said: “It’s great to see companies playing an active role within their local communities and using their expertise to make a difference.”

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A warm welcome in Newcastle

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Warm Hubs provide friendly places where local people can go to socialise, stay warm and get a hot meal.

They’ve proved a big success in rural Northumberland, where 13 self-sustained sites have already been established, and we’ve recently launched a new Warm Hub at St Paul’s Centre in Newcastle – the first time we’ve tried the concept in an urban environment.

We’re now expanding the approach, which is helping to combat fuel poverty and loneliness, to urban areas, with a further seven hubs planned for Newcastle.

Steve Forster from Together Newcastle, working with us on the initiative, said:

“Warm Hubs are a simple and effective way of bringing people together who otherwise may become isolated and lonely, and struggling a bit with heating their homes. They also provide a great opportunity for community groups and churches to make use of their buildings.”

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Examining the true cost of fuel poverty

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Households not connected to the gas grid are among the coldest and most expensive to heat in the UK. Many people living in such properties are at risk of severe ill health.

Since 2008, gas distributors have provided free gas connections for fuel poor households. However, the eligibility for connection does not currently take into account health-based criteria, and the opportunity to ease pressure on the NHS.

We’re launching a pilot project to examine the potential savings to the health budget and improvements to quality of life, by connecting homes that are not eligible under current rules.

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Green doctors

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Green Doctors is a partnership with environmental charity Groundwork to increase warmth and wellbeing among vulnerable households.

Customers receive home visits during which experts install energy and water saving devices, offer advice around grants, rebates and utility switching and promote behaviour change around energy and water use.

In 2016/17, more than 300 homes were visited, with more than 1600 energy efficiency measures installed and over £12,000 saved through energy supplier switching.

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Working with The Children's Society

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In 2015/16, we completed a successful 12 month pilot with the Children’s Society to support vulnerable and fuel poor families in Bradford.

The project showed that our interventions are most successful when we seek to tackle the root causes of fuel poverty, which are often complex and varied.

In response, we have launched a new programme with the Children’s Society in Newcastle, to support 900 teenagers who are about to live independently for the first time.

The programme covers essential life skills such as money management and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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