Our Centres for Warmth support communities who are living in vulnerable situations keeping them warm, safe, and connected. The project is based on identifying and partnering with local charities in areas of high deprivation, fuel poverty, and risk to carbon monoxide poisoning, who are located close to areas where we are carrying out mains replacement work.
Our charity partners will possess community centres that are positioned at the heart of their community, promoting togetherness and social interaction. Our partnership provides community centres with funding, resources, and training. Enabling charities to expand the service they offer to vulnerable households, offering trusted advice and being a lifeline for many.
How is it funded?
The centres are funded using funds from the Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA).
The VCMA is a five-year monetary fund that has been allocated to us and the other Gas Distribution Networks, NGN, SGN and Wales & West Utilities, by Ofgem to spend on projects focused on vulnerability and carbon monoxide safety initiatives that go beyond our day-to-day activities. You can find more about the VCMA and the projects we are working on here.
Centres for Warmth is one of our largest VCMA projects offering support to some of the most deprived areas across our network. This funding allows for expert local advisors to provide financial, energy efficiency and gas safety advice, and purchase hundreds of slow cookers.
Where are our centres located?
Our first Centres for Warmth were opened in Manchester, Liverpool, and Halton in July 2021. Since then, we have engaged with 25 community centres across its footprint, and has partnerships based in the following areas:
East of England
- Tower Hamlets
We are currently working with 12 more centres across the Northwest, East Midlands, and West Midlands.
What are the aims of the project?
Working with trusted local community centres who are able to identify what their customers need most locally and making that happen. Many are already offering vital services such as food
pantries, job clubs, and support with benefit claim applications. However, these centres were unable to offer essential advice on home energy efficiency, carbon monoxide safety and the Priority Services Register. The project allows us provide resources and training to support the centres on these areas allowing then to increase their provision and build these into their suite of existing services.
We are also offering much more varied support and activities depending on the local needs, such as slow cooker lessons on how to make nutritious meals and extra-circular activities for children.
What has the project delivered so far?
Since July 2021, we have invested in excess of £1.4million in to our Centres For Warmth and the project has provided support to more than 4,727 customers across our footprint, generating a total social value greater than £13,461,378.32.
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What’s the longer-term plan?
We plan to continue working with existing charities to expand the support currently offered through the Centres for Warmth, as well as engaging with new charities in areas of need.
We will continue to work with our partners to make sure the services offered through the Centres for Warmth programme are modified to meet the changing demands of the current cost of living and fuel crisis.
If you would like to recommend a centre to become a Centre for Warmth please email the firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of the centres and a centre contact name and number.