During 2019 funding from Northern Powergrid and Northern Gas Networks, enabled Groundwork NEWY to develop a training course aimed at helping front line workers identify, and offer advice on, fuel poverty. The course, which is accredited by BPEC, now trains up to 50 front line workers a month and has had overwhelmingly positive feedback.
Fuel poverty disproportionately affects homes and communities in the north of England. This is especially the case in post-industrial cities where the majority of the housing stock is old and poorly insulated.
The severity of the negative outcomes related to fuel poverty is not widely recognised; for example, 15,030 people are estimated to have died as result of cold housing in the winter of 2018-2019. The fact that this figure seems so shocking is linked to the fact that so few people recognise the scale or depth of the problem.
Aims and Objectives
Train front line workers to:
- Recognise the scale, severity, and signs of fuel poverty
- To be able to offer basic advice
- To know where to refer for more in-depth help
Design and delivery
The course was developed by Groundwork NEWY in conjunction with BPEC over the course of the first half of 2019. It is delivered over one day and currently takes place at the Groundwork NEWY office in Morley, Leeds.
The day is structured into four sessions, with the first two being focussed on teaching, the third an extended case study, and the fourth a short multiple-choice exam. Candidates who successfully complete the exam receive a certificate via post over the following two weeks
Subjects covered in the course are:
- Definitions of fuel poverty
- Influencing factors
- Impact on health and wellbeing
- Heat loss around the home
- Damp, condensation and mould
- Energy-efficient behaviour
- Dealing with energy suppliers and billing
- Identifying fuel poverty
- Methods for tackling fuel poverty and cold homes
- Warm Homes Discount
- Priority Service Register
The course participants come from a range of front line disciplines, including: housing officers, social workers, support workers, and debt advisors.