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The latest available figures released in May 2022, estimate that in 2020, 12% of households in Brighton & Hove were in fuel poverty. This equates to 15,814 households in the city.

With the cost of living and fuel prices increasing ther are likely to be many more people in cold homes this winter.

Although the definition of fuel poverty does not take account of energy costs directly, it can be assumed that the number of households in the city struggling to pay their energy bills has increased significantly over recent months due to the significant increases in energy tariffs and the general costs of living.

Living in a cold home as a result of fuel poverty has a disproportionate impact on the health of certain groups. Exposure to cold temperatures increases blood pressure and risk of blood clotting, heart failure/attack and stroke. It also suppresses the immune system, diminishes the lungs’ capacity to fight off infection and increases constriction of the airways, increasing the risk of bronchitis and pneumonia. When a house is damp as well as cold, mould is likely to occur. This increases the risk of respiratory illness, particularly asthma.

The Department of Health and Social Care research found that negative health effects start at relatively moderate outdoor temperatures of around 4-8 degrees celcius.

Service that can help

Energyworks

Money Advice Plus, Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove, and their energy partners are pleased to be offering help with fuel bills and keeping homes warm. They provide money advice and casework, including support with benefits, debt, budgeting, switching, and other help to keep homes warm. They can also provide grants for fuel bill payments and onwards referrals to relevant partners. Please bear in mind this service has limited capacity and a current waiting list. Please only refer people who are vulnerable and/or in significant need of this service.

Contact:

Email energyworks@cabrightonhove.org to request a referral form. Clients can also self-refer using this email address.

Clients can also self-refer by calling 0333 090 9150 – this is a voicemail only line for clients without internet access to call and leave their details.

BHESCo (Brighton & Hove Energy Services Co-operative)

Free home visits to qualifying households, offering energy advice, help with energy companies, and installation of energy saving kit (e.g. lightbulbs, draught-proofing, radiator reflectors). In emergency situations, they can also provide items such as portable heaters, thermal curtains and electric blankets.

For more information, go to: https://bhesco.co.uk/blog/energy-bill-crisis-what-help-is-available-sussex

Contact:

Email: info@bhesco.co.uk with the subject heading: Energy Advice

Call: 0800 999 6671 or 01273 284470

LEAP (Local Energy Advice Partnership)

Free phone call or home visit providing support with energy bills, advice on saving energy and heating systems and installation of simple energy saving measures. LEAP can also arrange a free telephone advice service to help with benefits, debt and other money problems, as well as referrals for further energy efficiency improvements, such as insulation and efficient heating systems.

Contact: To book a free energy advice phone call or home visit call free on 0800 060 7567 or apply online: www.applyforleap.org.uk

The council’s website is being updated with advice on available energy support (Help with fuel bills (brighton-hove.gov.uk)

Food initiatives

Impact Initiatives continues with their Food Access service, supporting elderly and housebound residents to access food. They also deliver an “on the day” emergency voucher or parcel if they cannot refer to another food bank that day. East Brighton Food Co-op city-wide meal delivery service and takes referrals for housebound residents who cannot afford to pay for food, but need a meal delivered.

Contact: food.access@impact-initiatives.org.uk or ring 01273 322950

The Emergency Food Network report from July 22 identified 44 food banks, social supermarkets and meal projects working out of 50 locations in the city. 

Contact: https://bhfood.org.uk/category/get-involved/referrals/ or ring 01273 234810