In our recent article about Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, we noted the continuing challenges presented by a combination of rising poverty, escalating fuel costs and, in many parts of Britain, a prevalence of older and less energy-efficient housing stock.
We address these challenges every day through our decarbonisation retrofit work, but we like to support the most vulnerable in other ways, too. Consequently, when Plus Dane Housing invited us to contribute to its Winter Campaign Emergency Fund, we were only too happy to help.
Plus Dane Housing owns and manages more than 13,500 properties across Merseyside and Cheshire, providing homes for around 30,000 people. Like many of our clients, it is always keen to deliver added value through every new scheme it commissions, and it encourages its supply chain partners to do the same.
One of the ways it does this is by organising a winter support scheme, which enables it to provide residents with a range of extras to make the season more pleasant and comfortable. Examples include:
- Christmas hampers
- Vouchers for fresh food
- Support for customers living in sheltered housing schemes
- Support for customers living in temporary accommodation
- Support for local community organisations and their services
- An annual Christmas toy appeal
- An Emergency Fund to support those in severe hardship
That last item, the Emergency Fund, is particularly important this year. December has brought sub-zero temperatures across the UK, and energy prices have soared to almost twice what they were this time last year. Consequently, many families have been struggling. The Fund aims to provide financial aid for those who most need it, so our operations manager Steve Roberts was delighted to be able to organise a £1,000 donation.
Emma Sneyd, Head of Engagement and Partnerships at Plus Dane said: “We are delighted that SBS have engaged with this year’s Winter Campaign, which looks to support some of our more vulnerable customers. This year, we are facing unprecedented demand for our services and support, but we know that by working together with our partners, like SBS, we can really make a difference.”
SBS’s contribution is associated with an ongoing scheme. We are currently proving energy efficiency improvements for 43 Plus Dane Housing properties in Greasby, Wirral. Here, our teams are installing external wall insulation, ground source heat pumps, and triple-glazed windows and doors. Part-funded by Wave 1 of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF), the works will greatly improve the heat-retention of the three-storey blocks, enabling residents to benefit from warmer homes and to enjoy significant annual energy savings.