The North of England’s gas distributor, Northern Gas Networks (NGN), is teaming up with charity, National Energy Action (NEA), to support its fuel poverty campaign – The Nation’s Biggest Housewarming, on Friday 15 February.
The event, which coincides with Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, aims to highlight the pressing issue of fuel poverty and the importance of ensuring that people in vulnerable circumstances have access to a warm, dry, safe home.
Last year, NGN was proud to deliver an extremely diverse package of support.
The company exceeded its targets for providing free gas connections to some of its poorest customers– completing 2,099 free gas connections in 2017/18 and taking the total number of free connections delivered to over 10,000.
Recognising that a free gas connection alone isn’t the answer, in addition, NGN provided a range of support for customers in vulnerable circumstances, such as free home energy audits, energy efficiency advice, a funding scheme for grass roots organisations to improve quality of life and specialist training for colleagues to make a difference.
One of NGN’s latest initiatives is seeing the company work with fellow energy distribution network, Northern Powergrid, on a project known as Comfortable Living. The initiative is delivering a combination of prevention, support, advice, information and signposting focused on reducing rates of fuel poverty and promoting health and wellbeing.
The Making Every Contact Count (MECC) project – initially a trial in Bradford and North Tyne – sees hundreds of NGN’s emergency response engineers, who are trained to respond to gas emergencies, identify customers living in vulnerable circumstances on the doorstep, and refer them on to agencies who can provide support around energy efficiency, debt advice and fire & rescue home visits.
Meanwhile, NGN’s longstanding partnership with Community Action Northumberland has seen 20 Warm Hubs established across rural Northumberland. The hubs are places where vulnerable residents can go to socialise, get warm, have a hot meal and access help and support. Building on the success of the rural hubs, NGN has launched its first urban Warm Hub in Newcastle. The company’s investment means that the hubs are now sustainable and can be run autonomously by more than 200 committed volunteers.
Tom Bell, Head of Social Strategy, for Northern Gas Networks said. “The region we cover contains some of the most economically challenged communities in the UK, from remote parts of rural Northumberland to deprived areas of Bradford.”
“As a company that’s embedded in these neighbourhoods, we feel it’s our duty to support communities and individuals facing difficulties, such as fuel poverty and associated forms of vulnerability.”
To find out more about NGN’s work in the community, or to get involved in the work they do and have your say, visit together.northerngasnetworks.co.uk
Anyone that smells gas or suspects carbon monoxide should call the National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999. This line is in operation 24-hours a day, seven days a week.