Penny McKissock, Southside’s CEO says: “Southside supports families across Bath and North East Somerset, who are dealing with multiple and complex challenges. Embedded in Twerton and Whiteway for over twenty-five years, Southside has deep roots in local communities with four Community Hub Groups so was well placed to provide the right advice and support at the right time for the families we support.

The cost-of-living crisis has significantly increased pressures on local families, many were already struggling with fuel and food poverty and steep increases in energy bills caused great pressure and anxiety. Families were asking the Southside team for help and advice on fuel debt and keeping energy costs as low as possible, so we knew there was a clear need for targeted support, advice and resources. Many of the families supported by Southside live in social or rented housing with poor insulation, and wanted help with practical ways to improve energy efficiency to help cut bills at this difficult time and by so doing, also reduce their carbon footprint.

Southside’s Family Support team undertook National Energy Action training on fuel debt advice and the impact of fuel poverty on health. We have now distributed hundreds of energy saving resources to families through packs including radiator reflectors, draught excluders, pipe insulation wrap, and energy saving bulbs. We also provided advice on energy efficiency and fuel debt through our Community Hub Groups in Writhlington, Keynsham, Twerton and Foxhill. The Centre for Sustainable Energy provided direct advice for families in the groups and invaluable help with vouchers to reduce fuel debt.

Thanks to the BWCE Fund grant, families struggling with fuel poverty, compounded by the cost-of-living crisis alongside other challenges, have been supported to reduce their energy use, costs and carbon footprint through practical help, advice and resources. One parent said that the draught excluder and insulation tape would really help with a big draught coming in from their back door that they were waiting to be fixed by their landlord.”