Local gas network Cadent has provided funding worth nearly £100,000 to create its first ‘Centres for Warmth’ – projects that are designed to support people living in vulnerable situations.
The investment supports communities in Manchester, Liverpool and Halton.
It will enable renovations to community centres, funds for expert local advisors to provide financial, energy efficiency and gas safety advice, and the purchase of hundreds of slow cookers.
Cadent is collaborating with associations that have well-established, trusted presence in local communities, to identify what’s needed most locally and then make that happen.
These first ‘Centres for Warmth’ have been created at
- Harpurhey Neighbourhood Project (Manchester)
- Fazakerley Community Federation (Liverpool)
- In partnership with the charity Four Estates, at both Halton Brook Community Centre and Palace Fields Community Centre
These are all areas where Cadent actively operates in, either through maintaining the local gas network (pipes that mostly run unseen, underground) or by upgrading it.
In each of these areas, Cadent is currently investing millions of pounds to replace old metallic pipes with new plastic ones. This ensures continued distribution of gas for heating and cooking for many years to come and long after the Cadent upgrades have been completed.
Cadent manages the 21,000-mile gas distribution network in North West England. It has allocated the money from its Vulnerability & Carbon Monoxide Allowance. New this year, the VCMA is a fund agreed by energy regulator Ofgem to support networks in helping those in need.
“Working every day in these communities means you quickly feel part of the community, and you want to help in any way you can,” explained Jenny Moten, Cadent’s North West Network Director.
“These new Centres for Warmth will be a lifeline for many, a source of trusted advice and support when they need it most – whether that’s help with managing finances, understanding how to keep safe at home, or learning how to cook affordable, nutritious meals. And these are just the first – we are already well-advanced in establishing more centres like these across the North West.”
Edward Allard, Customer Safeguarding Manager at Cadent [pictured above, with Joan Tipping, Harpurhey Neighbourhood Project committee member], added: “This funding enables each centre to run activities designed to support local residents living in vulnerable situations – and we know this is already having a major impact.
"For example, although it’s only been operating for a few months, we know that advice given in one of the centres has helped people claim in excess of £30,000 in benefits and support they were entitled to but did not know about.”
Other initiatives adopted through these centres include establishing links with local schools to deliver Cadent’s Safety Seymour
and CO Crew
education programmes, as well as themed events through the year (such as energy efficiency advice sessions and cookery lessons).
Cadent is being supported in delivering these initiatives by its North West contract management organisation, Network Plus, who have helped to deliver building and renovations works at some of the project’s centres.