When the most recent statistics were released it was estimated that a whopping 17% of UK households were struggling to pay their fuel bills. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise with rising energy costs overtaking dawdling wages and low income households being penalised with higher than average tariffs.

A combination of splintered support networks and social stigma means it is extremely difficult to reach people who are struggling. Initiatives like NEA’s Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, aim to highlight the issues and the available support to residents, but it seems crazy that when nearly one in five of us are under strain, it’s a topic that isn’t being more readily discussed.

Last year Hubbub launched a pilot project to help support residents making tough decisions in order to heat their homes. It comes in the form of a community Facebook page which shares tips and advice on how to save money and keep warm. Residents are encouraged to post content themselves, to ask questions and to support other members. The pages are currently running in three areas Doncaster, Truro and Falmouth and Poplar and Limehouse, and are together supporting over 1,000 people keep their homes warm this winter.

Live in one of these areas? Join your local page:

           

Over the last few months we have met some amazingly resourceful residents, invested local stakeholders and politicians and passionate community leaders who have informed how the project has developed and grown. We have been astounded by the amazing initiatives being run by individuals and organisations and the ingenuity and knowledge of the householders we have spoken to. One of the biggest challenges with the issue of fuel poverty is not necessarily that the support doesn’t exist, but that it’s stuck in a labyrinth of information that householders are struggling to navigate.

Conversations between individuals and organisations are how we think up big ideas, share knowledge and build trust. It's time to start making noise about fuel poverty. As more information is shared it will become easier to untangle the web of advice available and ensure vulnerable householders are reaching the support they are entitled to. 

5 top tips to save money in your home

To kick things off here are five top tips from Fuelling Connections members to help you keep warm and save money in your home.

  1. Make sure you’re on the right tariff! You could be saving £200 a year on your energy bills just by switching.
  2. Get creative! Use double sided sticky tape to draught proof your windows and keep the chill out.
  3. Switch off appliances you aren’t using. You could save £80 a year!
  4. Keep the heat in! Open your oven door after cooking to keep our kitchen cosy.
  5. Uncover your radiators. Try to make sure your radiators aren’t being blocked when trying to heat up a room.