Please click here for language/accessibility options

British Gas Energy Trust Roundtable- Carers

Increases in energy costs have placed additional financial strains on carers, according to one charity boss in South Yorkshire.

James Woods, Chief Executive Officer at Citizens Advice Doncaster Borough, said carers often consume higher amounts of energy due to the need to maintain a warm environment and operate medical equipment for the people they care for.

And the situation is even worse for unpaid carers. In South Yorkshire alone, there are around 84,000 unpaid carers in the county, including those providing care for family members, friends or neighbours.

In June, the issue of carers struggling with fuel poverty will be a topic of discussion at the Trust’s third roundtable event, organised to commemorate the charity funder’s 20th anniversary.

Over two decades the Trust has been supporting people in or at risk of fuel poverty with community-based money and energy advice and guidance, energy debt grants and emergency fuel vouchers, and other much needed support.

In 2024, it has organised a series of roundtables across the country looking at ‘alleviating the detrimental impact of poverty- what works, what happens next’.

Some 10% of Citizens Advice Doncaster Borough’s almost 1,500-strong caseload care for someone – either formally or informally.

This includes 62-year-old Dave* who lives in a council-rented property where he cares for his wife who suffers from numerous disabilities. He receives Carer’s Allowance on top of a private pension but had been told he wasn’t able to claim for any other benefits.

After receiving support from the Doncaster team, Dave was able to claim an extra £222 a month in Universal Credit due to his circumstances and was provided with a series of energy saving measures which could save the household more than £500 a year.

Dave was very appreciative of the advice provided, saying: “I am extremely grateful to the energy adviser that supported me during the appointment.”

James says the charity has seen a shift in the demographics of people presenting with issues recently.

He added:

“With an ageing population, the number of people requiring care is rising, leading to an increase in the number of unpaid carers. Many carers are now responsible for more than one individual, often spanning different generations within a family.

“Older carers often face their own health challenges, which can be exacerbated by the physical and emotional demands of caregiving. Many carers also struggle to balance paid employment with their care responsibilities, with a significant number of carers reducing their working hours or leaving the workforce entirely, impacting their financial stability.”

Citizens Advice Doncaster supports carers through access to information, financial management support, developing carer networks and through running awareness campaigns to increase local understanding on energy rights and options.

Their face-to-face appointments are spread across four different locations throughout the city to widen participation, while also travelling to clients homes and providing telephone support if they need it.

More information about the roundtables can be found here.

*name changed to protect identity.