Celebrating successful partnership working during the pandemic

Young boy hanging rainbow drawing in window

Like many organisations, we’ve had to completely change our ways of working because of the coronavirus pandemic. With staff working from home and lockdown restrictions putting a stop to events and face-to-face advice, the way we work with partner organisations has changed too. But along with our partners, we’ve achieved great things in the past year – including helping councils reach vulnerable residents, working with food banks, and helping people who were struggling financially to access funding towards their energy costs.

Read on for some examples of partnership working which we’re particularly proud of. If you’re interested in working with us, we’d love to hear from you – just drop us an email.

Delivering training for a Glasgow housing association

NG Homes, a housing association in north Glasgow, previously provided energy advice to their tenants. Our local partnership officer Alan heard they weren’t offering this anymore, so got in touch to see how we could help. Alan delivered online training to the housing officers and regeneration team at NG Homes, and set them up with access to our secure online referral portal. This means NG Homes can refer tenants to us for advice on managing their energy costs. Next, we’ll be training the maintenance and customer service staff at NG Homes, so they can identify people who need our help and pass this referral on.

Spreading the word about Warmer Homes Scotland with online events

We hosted webinars for organisations working with people who may be eligible for support through Warmer Homes Scotland, a Scottish Government programme providing free home improvements like heating and insulation. Over 100 representatives from health, social care and third sector organisations in Strathclyde and Central attended the webinars. Some of these were new partners who are now using our portal to refer people to us, and we’ve seen some of these householders go on to get help from Warmer Homes Scotland.

Moving support for vulnerable families in Edinburgh online

We’ve been working with the Discover programme, a joint offering from CHAI (Community Health and Advice Initiative) and Children 1st, since 2017. Discover supports vulnerable families across Edinburgh during school holidays, and invited us to take part in their digital programme for the October break. We shared energy saving tips through a fun activity, and offered one-to-one appointments with parents over Zoom. We provided a range of advice and made referrals to Warmer Homes Scotland and schemes providing emergency energy credit to those in need.

Collaborating to tackle fuel poverty in Sutherland

We’ve been working closely with organisations in Sutherland, a rural area with high levels of fuel poverty, to allow us to reach vulnerable people. We participated in a fuel poverty summit with members of the Sutherland Community Partnership Fuel Poverty Subgroup, which looked to create a strategy to tackle fuel poverty in the area. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, more people in Sutherland need advice to help them heat their homes in an affordable way. During the summit we were able to promote our services, including support from specialist Energycarers, and let other groups know about funding available for local projects to help the community.

Working towards resilience in the Western Isles

We’ve been working with groups across the Western Isles for several years. Our local outreach officer, Donald, is the main point of contact for organisations looking to coordinate discussion on the services available to local people. We’ve been working closely with the Western Isles Citizens Advice Service, financial inclusion officers from Western Isles Council, debt advice teams, Macmillan Cancer Care and the Uist Voluntary Partnership. This has helped us raise awareness of our services across the Western Isles, and means these groups can refer people to us for advice and access to funding.

Extra support from our Energycarers

Our Energycarers have been busy supporting people who are experiencing complex problems. In the past year we’ve helped people resolve billing errors with their energy supplier, meaning they didn’t have to pay mistaken charges of more than £1,000. We’ve taken people through the process of getting a benefit check, and referred them to get support from Warmer Homes Scotland after their new benefits were awarded. We’ve helped people get their energy meter changed, and even helped one person get a new fridge-freezer by supporting an application to the Let’s Talk Energy fund.