i-Connect: empowering people to help themselves
Bromley by Bow Centre was awarded an Enhancing Community Support grant scheme in October 2021 for “i-Connect”.
i-Connect is an innovative approach to developing capability and capacity within the community, so reducing difficulties around energy services at source, and better equipping clients to help themselves and others. The project is developing wider skills such as IT and money management, referring people to specialist help and encouraging people to support their peers through volunteering.
The following case study demonstrates how the project is working after just a few months.
AR and his wife, B had been attending ESOL classes at the local Idea Store. AR was employed on a zero hour contact, and was trying to improve his language skills in order to improve his employability prospects.
Both AR and B participated in the energy workshop delivered by the i-Connect adviser. The adviser was quickly able to assess that the couple needed support with their energy costs. During the workshop, the adviser spoke about the types of financial support available in regards to energy costs and demonstrated how to apply for the Warm Home Discount online. The couple engaged with the workshop content and absorbed a lot of the information, sharing their own experiences with the group. They were motivated to make positive changes in their lives.
AR and B approached the trainer, seeking to learn more about reducing their energy costs. The adviser offered the couple a 1:1 appointment to be conducted via WhatsApp video call. The adviser completed an income and expenditure form to ensure that the couple were eligible to apply for the Warm Home Discount.
As the couple already had an online energy account with provider EDF they were able to sign into their account. The adviser talked them through the process of completing the online application, in the language spoken by the couple – Bengali, which put them at ease. The couple completed and submitted their online application.
AR and B have been awarded the Warm Home Discount, which means they will receive £140 towards their winter bill. They were very grateful for the support-
“This is the first time we have applied online and it was so easy! We didn’t know about this before.”
The couple have agreed to remain engaged with the project and the wider Centre for further support and an onward referral has been made to the Social Welfare team for benefit and housing advice.
Find out more about Bromley by Bow Centre.