The Energy Hardship Fund hits £200,000

11/11/2021

The Energy Hardship Fund hits £200,000 to help residents who are struggling with the cost of their energy bills this winter, thanks to strong support from the sector.

HACT’’s response to the pressing need for action on fuel poverty this winter was to set up the Energy Hardship Fund. After 3 weeks of fundraising, the fund has received strong support from social housing providers, suppliers and partners with generous donations taking the total raised so far to over £200,000.  

The fund is an opportunity to come together as a sector, and to make a statement that energy hardship is a reality many communities already face. This is vital, in face of the risk of more residents falling into fuel poverty, a result of the rising energy prices and cuts to universal credit.  

Jon Lord, Chair of Greater Manchester Housing Providers and Group, and Group Chief Executive of Bolton at Home made the following call to action this week.  

“Please join us and contribute to the Energy Hardship Fund. Our support can make a world of difference to households struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.  

The situation of higher energy prices is massively compounded by a whole set of more challenging circumstances if you’re on a low income, without savings to fall back on, falling into debt to pay bills, unable to access low interest rates and at risk of being put on prepayment meters. It’s going to hit those with the least money, the most.”  

Social housing organisations across the UK have committed donations and support to the Energy Hardship Fund. This week Progress Housing Group, Abri and Golding Homes have made donations and pledged to support the campaign.  

Michelle Dawson, Director of Housing and Communities at Abri said.  

“It’s really important that we back HACT’s Energy Hardship Fund at a time when customers need additional support. The cold weather is already up on us, and energy prices are rising. Fuel poverty is a constant concern, and we should do everything we can so that customers don’t have to choose between heating and other crucial costs, such as food and rent.”  

The Energy Hardship Fund fundraising campaign launched on Wednesday 20 October 2021. We are seeking corporate donations to the fund from social housing providers, partners and friends of the social housing sector. Our aim is to raise £1 million to redistribute it as fuel vouchers to social housing residents across the UK this winter.  

Andrew van Doorn, Chief Executive, HACT, said:  

“Last year, in response to the pandemic, HACT raised and distributed £1 million in energy vouchers to over 16,000 resident households across the UK, through a network of over 160 housing associations. This year, the need for energy vouchers is even higher. So, we have launched the Energy Hardship Fund. Our aim is to fundraise for another £1 million that we can distribute through our existing networks to social housing residents across the UK. If we can achieve this, we can demonstrate the power of the sector when it acts together.” 

The £200,000 raised so far has come from the generous donations of supporters across the sector and beyond. There is momentum in the fund, but HACT are seeking support from more supporters to tackle fuel poverty collectively. To make a corporate donation, please contact HACT via the Energy Hardship Fund’s dedicated email address: energy.hardship@hact.org.uk ​ 

In order to provide more information on the distribution of the energy vouchers from the fund, along with the opportunity for supporters to ask any questions, HACT will be holding a Q & A session on Tuesday 16th of November, register here

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Contact: energy.hardship@hact.org.uk  ​ 

Thank you 

We would like to thank the following organisations for making generous donations to the Energy Hardship Fund; 

Campbell Tickell, Trowers and Hamlins, Flagship Housing, Hopestead, MRI Sofrware, iOpt. Cape Homes. Greenfields Gardening, AFA Development Consultancy, Fusion21, Progress Group, Abri. Golding Homes, Newland Homes, SF Planning, Peabody Housing Association and Lane Britton Jenkins. 

Terry Spillard, Assistant Director of Customers, Golding Homes said 

“We know that the increases in energy prices and the changes to universal credit are making it increasingly hard for many of our customers to afford to heat their homes.  It can also lead to difficult choices between heating your home and other essential costs, like paying your rent.  The effects of Covid-19 are still being felt and it’s a challenging time for many, so being able to support our customers this winter with energy vouchers is more important than ever.  We are really proud to support this fantastic initiative with HACT.”   

Jo Hannan, Foundation Manager, Fusion21 said

“We are delighted to support the HACT Energy Hardship Fund which will help social housing tenants on low incomes cover their energy costs and enable them to keep warm over the winter months. This initiative is close to our hearts as our Foundation embodies the social change we all want to see, championing positive health and well-being, financial inclusion, housing and employability for all. 

“We believe everyone deserves the best chance of a healthy, happy future. Through our foundation projects, we work with partners and communities to make that happen. To bring about sustainable, lifelong change for all, we also fund research and initiatives aimed at finding new solutions to complex societal challenges.” 

Veronica Kirwan, Director of Community Programmes, Peabody said 

This is going to be a really challenging winter for many people in our communities. The ongoing impact of the pandemic, together with cuts to Universal Credit, and rising fuel, energy and food prices means that many people will be forced to make difficult choices between heating, eating and paying for their essential living costs. We are pleased to support the Energy Hardship Fund which will provide a critical lifeline to some of the most vulnerable households in the months to come. 

Doug Sarney, Solutions Principal, MRI Software said

“The energy hardship fund is a fantastic initiative and supporting this cause closely aligns with MRI's own ethos to put residents first. Many of our recent projects focus on supporting social housing residents, helping housing providers to identify those most in need in order to combat food and fuel poverty. We will be actively promoting the fund and requesting our partners and housing providers we work with to join us in supporting residents through these difficult times. We look forward to seeing the positive impact this fund will have on the lives of many social housing residents.” 

Dane Ralston, Managing Direct, iOpt said  

"This is such a great initiative and one that we are delighted to support. The winter months are tough enough, nobody should have to worry about heating their home, I hope this initiative can help ease the burden slightly,"  

Tim Lane, Build Director, Lane Britton Jenkins said 

“As a company we support this initiative wholly, especially in these troubled times and economic uncertainty. People should have shelter, food and warmth as a minimum in this day and age. With our contribution and many others we will be able to help deliver one of these fundamentals. We look forward to promote the fund and see the positive results it has had over the winter period.”