Pembrokeshire charity recruits community fuel champions

Pembrokeshire FRAME has received funding to act as a community contact point for those facing fuel poverty.

By Patrick Ovenden   |   Reporter   |
Wednesday 29th June 2022 8:54 am
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Wales & West Utilities Tom Robinson with Pembrokeshire FRAME’s Fuel Poverty Officer, Frank Farrer
Wales & West Utilities Tom Robinson with Pembrokeshire FRAME’s Fuel Poverty Officer, Frank Farrer (Pic. Wales & West Utilities )

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Pembrokeshire FRAME has received funding to recruit a community fuel co-ordinator and five volunteer champions as they look to raise awareness about energy efficiency, whilst tackling fuel poverty across the county.

The funding from gas emergency and pipeline service, Wales & West Utilities, will allow the charity to act as a community point of contact for those facing fuel poverty issues and will help to make a positive difference to local communities most in need.

The employed advisor and five volunteer champions will help individuals claim benefits, provide debt management advice and make referrals through to Wales & West Utilities existing network of partnerships. They will also be able sign people up to the Priority Services Register (PSR), make referrals for specialist support with fitting Locking Cooker Valves and distribute free carbon monoxide alarms.

Gas emergency and pipeline service, Wales & West Utilities, has provided the funding as part of its Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA).

Paul Hughes, Chief Officer at Pembrokeshire FRAME, said:

“This funding will allow us to deliver far-reaching benefits. Not only will it allow us to get into the heart of Pembrokeshire communities to help those most in need to gain specific advice on energy efficiency and gas safety, but it will allow us to provide employment and volunteering opportunities to local people.

“We are all feeling the impacts of the rising costs of living, and this funding will allow us to run a five-day-a-week hotline for fuel poverty and carbon monoxide enquiries, whilst having face-to-face contact across communities.

“It’s great that Wales & West Utilities is supporting our efforts by providing this funding and we are hopeful that many people will benefit.”

Pembrokeshire FRAME is a supported employment and life-changing charity that transforms hundreds of lives in Pembrokeshire each year, by providing access to learning, supported and meaningful occupation, voluntary and employment opportunities and help and support to enable individuals to reach their potential.  The community fuel champion, who will be based at the charity’s Merlin Bridge site, will also work in Pembroke Dock.

Tom Robinson, Social Obligations Specialist at Wales & West Utilities, said:

“We’re delighted that this funding will allow Pembrokeshire FRAME to support the most vulnerable by providing vital energy efficiency advice and safety information.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to support those most in need in our communities. Working with trusted partners like Pembrokeshire FRAME means we can help more people stay safe in their own homes.”

Between April 2021 to March 2026, Wales & West Utilities has £7m to spend on projects which support consumers in vulnerable situations and raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and keep people safe from the ‘silent killer’.

Carbon monoxide (CO), known as the ‘silent killer’ because you can’t see it, smell it or taste it, kills 50 people a year in England and Wales and hospitalises many more. In the UK, there are more than 4,000 visits to Accident & Emergency for treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning – which can often lead to lasting neurological damage. Even low levels of exposure over an extended period can cause serious health issues, including brain injuries.

Funding is made from the Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA), and 75 per cent of the money will be spent on projects relevant to Wales and south west England only, while 25 per cent will be spent on collaborative projects with the other gas networks across the whole of the UK.

If you have a project that you think Wales & West Utilities could support, either individually or collaboratively with other gas networks, then contact Wales & West Utilities at [email protected].

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call 0800 111 999 straight away, and their engineers will be there to help any time of day or night, the company promises. Before visiting, you will be asked to let them know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. They will still come and help you: but their teams will take some additional precautions to keep everybody safe.

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