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Findings from the British Gas Energy Trust second roundtable event


Date: 6th June 2024
Location: Money Matters, Govan, Glasgow
Objective: To ensure that British Gas Energy Trust is supporting its local partner organisations as effectively as possible in Scotland, with a particular focus on the needs of young people.

Chief Executive of British Gas Energy Trust, Jessica Taplin explained: “We don’t want to be a funder that leads from the front. We should be funding frontline community-based charities, then giving them the freedom to do what they do so well. Over the coming months, we are convening groups like this across England, Scotland and Wales to understand what works and how we can help push forward systemic change.”

Key themes: Speakers from a diverse range of community groups and support organisations began by discussing some of the key themes of their work with those aged 16 to 25 who are experiencing fuel poverty. They highlighted a range of issues particular to young people, including insecure jobs, poor housing and difficulties accessing support, the latter being an issue which also arose as part of our roundtable discussion focused on physical and mental health.

Observations included:

Young people have particular economic and employment challenges, including insecure, lower paid work, so need targeted support.

The financial challenges young people face mean they are more likely to live in poor quality housing, which can be inefficient and expensive to heat, making them even more vulnerable to energy poverty.

We can’t always assume that the best way to provide targeted support for younger people is online, because not everyone has the same digital and social skills.

Next steps: The panellists were then asked to draw on their experience delivering front-line support in Scotland to identify strategies and areas for action that would make a difference to young people in fuel poverty. Much like at the previous roundtable focused on physical and mental health, they were keen to emphasise the need for joined-up service provision to ensure that everyone is able to access the support they need as easily as possible. This can be hampered because funding providers place strict restrictions on how money can be spent, and which don’t always fit a person’s needs.
They identified three broad areas for action in the short and longer term:

There are a diverse range of factors that contribute to young people being in energy poverty. This requires holistic support, but delivery is currently fragmented and inefficient, so a new approach is needed.

Education can have a lifelong transformative impact, helping build young people’s financial capability and resilience, so they can manage their finances effectively from when they need to and avoid falling into energy debt. However, it must be delivered in a more targeted way and in places they naturally learn.

In the longer term, a social tariff can be a permanent solution to energy poverty, but there isn’t currently a cohesive strategy on how this would be implemented and integrated with other forms of support.

Find out more about the Trust’s roundtables here.