Hastings Advice & Representation Centre and Energise Sussex Coast awarded financial grant to help those most impacted by COVID related fuel poverty and energy debt

19 October 2020, Hastings: Hastings Advice & Representation Centre and Energise Sussex Coast have received a financial grant from the British Gas Energy Trust to help their efforts in working together to give invaluable support to people impacted by fuel poverty and energy debt as a result of the pandemic.

The grant will be used to create the Welfare, Benefits & Energy Advice project which aims to maximise the income of people living in poverty in Hastings through accessing welfare, benefits and energy advice. This nine-month project aims to address the multiple challenges caused by COVID-19, the cold winter weather, and financial hardships caused by the pandemic and support people’s health and wellbeing through our service.

Jacky Everard, Chief Executive, Hastings Advice & Representation Centre                                                                                                        

“We, along with many people in our sector, have been extremely worried about this coming winter and the additional issues people face caused by the COVID pandemic. Whether it’s residents facing a reduced income as they have lost their job or are not able to work; some people will be ill or recovering from COVID-19, others will be having to spend more time at home and will need to keep the heating on more. The British Gas Energy Trust fund will enable us to help people when they need it most. We will be able to support people to maximise their income by giving welfare benefits, budgeting advice and energy advice to save money on their bills and make their homes more affordable to heat this winter.

Helen Charlton, Chair of British Gas Energy Trust:

“It’s been crucial to ensure frontline money and energy advice organisations receive additional funding to support their work this Autumn, as the longer-term effects of the pandemic, and winter fuel costs, begin to take hold.  Many vulnerable households are facing a financial precipice, these new grants will ensure additional money & energy advice is available to support individuals and families in some of the worse hit areas”

Contact details for people in need of support are to ring or email Andrea on andrea@harcuk.com 07923 236782

The British Gas Energy Trust has provided financial grants to nine regional energy and money consumer advice charities as part of its Covid Response Fund,  announced in July 2020. The Trustees made the decision to create the £800,000 Covid Response Fund, targeted at smaller front line, charitable advice providers,  in order to support households in areas of the UK identified by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) as being most impacted by COVID and having the highest levels of unmet resource for providing fuel poverty and energy debt advice to its local communities.

The projects will run from October 2020 until Summer 2021.  Grants are awarded immediately to enable all organisations to commence activities.

The Covid Response Fund builds on the funding that is already supporting an additional 17 fuel and money advice projects across England, Scotland & Wales.   The publication of the Trust’s  Impact Report 2020 today,  helps shine a light on the positive impact of funding within the heart of communities across Engand, Scotland and Wales.

For further information on Welfare, Benefits & Energy Advice project, please contact:

Jacky Everard (Chief Executive, Hastings Advice & Representation Centre) Direct Line: 01424 452630 jacky@harcuk.com

For further information on the COVID Response Fund and the other projects, please contact:

                    Jessica Taplin  (CEO, British Gas Energy Trust) press@britishgasenergytrust.org.uk

Tel :07917 423 459

Mark Dennis

Senior PR Manager, Centrica

Tel: 07557 614 019


Hastings Advice & Representation Centre

Hastings Advice & Representation Centre (HARC) provides free confidential advice, information and representation to over 14,000 people in a typical year,  raising over four million pounds in unclaimed,  enhanced and reinstated benefits.

Energise South Coast

Energise Sussex Coast is a Community Energy Cooperative providing local residents with energy advice since 2012. Energise Sussex Coast has helped thousands of local people save money and energy. As well as this Energise Sussex Coast works to reduce carbon by increasing the amount of community owned solar power.

The British Gas Energy Trust (BGET)

BGET was established in 2004 by British Gas as an independent Charitable Trust , in 2018 it became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), the CIO is governed by an Independent group of Trustees with Jessia Taplin, CEO, overseeing day to day operations.  It remains the largest of its nature in the UK and is focused on contributing to the relief of poverty, with a particular focus on helping alleviate fuel poverty.

The mission of the Trust is to alleviate the detrimental impact of poverty; helping people in, or at risk of, financial hardship meet their energy needs and manage their energy costs through support, education and raising awareness of sound money management.

BGET contributes to the relief of poverty, with a particular focus on fuel poverty by helping those who are struggling to pay for their gas and electricity consumption to get out of fuel debt and get back on their feet and remain debt free going forward.

It delivers through direct access grant programmes for individuals and families, as well as through funding third-sector money and energy advice organisations from across the England, Scotland and Wales, who deliver a variety of in-depth money advice programmes & projects within communities.

  • The Individuals and Families programme provides direct grants to clear debt, provide emergency credit for pre-payment meter users and provide grants to fund the purchase and/or installation of boilers. The programmes aims to help people avoid the burden of energy debt, make informed energy choices and improve their money management skills.
  • The Funded Organisation Programme funds advice providers across England, Scotland and Wales to provide holistic energy and financial advice to people who are struggling with their fuel bills, heating or finances. The programme is intended to enhance the capacity of the organisations funded by BGET: enabling the development and provision of holistic support, money, energy & advice services,  to provide depth of support to people in financial hardship.  More information on all of the not for profit projects funded, can be found on the British Gas Energy Trust website.

British Gas

British Gas is Britain’s leading supplier of energy and services and is part of Centrica plc, a leading international energy services and solutions provider. The company is founded on a 200-year heritage of serving people and provides energy and services to over 9 million UK homes and businesses, supported by around 8,000 highly trained engineers and technicians. We also provide a range of innovative products and services including Hive and our on-demand digital tradespeople service, Local Heroes. We are focused on satisfying the changing needs of our customers, enabling them to transition to a lower carbon future. Our aim is to reduce emissions in line with Paris goals by 2030 and develop a path to net zero by 2050.

Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE)  /  Advice Need Index (ANI):

CSE were commission to produce a series of maps displaying the predicted need for energy, debt and money advice following the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the existing coverage of advice agencies already funded by BGET and of other major energy advice providers. The maps, which cover England, Scotland and Wales and present the results at local authority level, were produced using QGIS software.  The BGET Mapping Report is published on the BGET website.

Advice Need Index (ANI): An Advice Need Index was created to identify areas for funding taking into account a higher prevalence of a number of risk factors, and therefore a higher need for advice and support. The ANI combines a number of indicators that suggest a greater vulnerability to the impacts of Covid-19, lower financial resilience and higher fuel bills. Further information available on request.