Helping residents escape fuel poverty

"Sustainability is a prime priority for us and we worked in partnership with the Council to develop a unique system which can easily identify if a household is in fuel poverty.  It’s been an incredible project to be involved with and we hope it will encourage other local authorities to look at alternative methods of tackling fuel poverty.” - Andrew McIntosh, Regional Managing Director for Regeneration at ENGIE UK

“Warm Homes Oldham is a great example of how the council is working co-operatively with its partners to improve the lives of residents. We are improving lives and also saving money for the council and the NHS that would otherwise be spent on treating cold-related illnesses and other related issues.” - Councillor Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Co-operatives

The partner:

Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council

Location:

Oldham

The project brief:

In the first programme of its kind, ENGIE worked in close partnership with Oldham Council and the NHS to create new approaches to tackling fuel poverty, by helping to improve the quality of homes, cutting householder bills and reducing admissions to A+E from cold related illnesses.

The solution:

The Warm Homes Oldham project was set up to help local people who are struggling to heat their homes. This was achieved by offering a simple, single point of contact service for fuel poverty advice, providing practical guidance and support to Oldham’s most vulnerable residents. This included everything from providing home insulation and advice on using energy wisely, to upgrading heating systems and helping people assess their income through benefits checks and accessing of emergency credit.

A harmonious outcome:

The project had a significant impact, helping over 2,000 people escape fuel poverty in Oldham and reducing Local Authority and NHS spending in its first two years alone. This allowed Oldham’s residents to live healthier and more comfortable lives, and the quality of housing stock was also improved dramatically. While the project was the first ‘community budget’ pilot in the UK, it is hoped that the flagship scheme could become a template for others across the country, offering a harmonious solution to the UK’s fuel poverty problem and allowing easy access to advice and support for the UK’s most vulnerable people.