Northern Gas Networks (NGN), the gas distribution network for the North of England, has launched a five-year fund, worth £750k, to support customers facing hardship.
The shareholder funded NGN Customer Support Fund, which is worth £150k every year until 2026, is focused on addressing the causes of energy-related hardship and providing help for customers whose lives are impacted by cold related health conditions. The fund also offers financial help for people who fall through the benefits and funding gaps and provides support for those who are unable to pay to repair or replace failing gas appliances, helping to keep some of the region’s most vulnerable customers warm and safe.
The fund was designed by NGN in partnership with its Citizen’s Jury – a group of around 50 customers representative of the gas network company’s customer base – to ensure that the support provided, is focused in the areas where it is believed NGN can provide the greatest benefit.
It is being administered in partnership with four of NGN’s trusted voluntary and charity sector partner organisations – British Lung Foundation (BLF), Communitas Energy (CE), Groundwork and The Foundation for Independent Living Trust (FILT), who work with the Gas Safe Charity.
NGN keeps the gas flowing to 6.8 million people throughout the North of England. The annual fund is one of the ways that Northern Gas Networks gives back to the communities it works in, where many customers are having to cope with high levels of fuel poverty and low household income.
The NGN Customer Support Fund is directly funded by the gas distribution network. It is just one of the initiatives delivered through NGN’s partners and designed to make a positive difference to the communities where it works.
Jill Walker, Social Strategy Project Manager at Northern Gas Networks, said: “As a major employer based at the heart of the communities that we serve, we have a responsibility to make a positive difference to the lives of the people living in our region.
“The impact of the covid pandemic, the energy supply market crisis and withdrawal of other forms of financial assistance, have put further financial strains on individuals and families throughout our network.
“The NGN Customer Support Fund is helping us to provide flexible, tailored and practical support, to those who need it most, helping them to make small changes, that can make a real and lasting difference to their lives.”
Paul Smith, Director at Foundations Independent Living Trust said: “Foundations Independent Living Trust has worked with the Gas Safe Charity over many years, providing a hardship fund to pay for essential repairs where a homeowner has a gas safety issue. We were really pleased to be able to expand the coverage of this service across the north of England through the creation of the NGN Customer Support Fund. Thanks to the funding those who are older or living with a disability can get their appliances checked and serviced by their local Home Improvement Agency free of charge.”
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