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Leicester charity increases community support through multilingual online tool

A charity supporting thousands of people across Leicestershire to break the cycle of poverty has launched a website with information displayed in eight different languages.

Leicester-based Zinthiya Trust, which primarily provides support to women fleeing abuse and honour-based violence, also helps people to maximise their finance through enhanced budgeting skills and practical advice around home energy.

After 14 years of experience delivering in such a diverse city as Leicester, the charity decided to create a dedicated website so access to important information was available more easily for the local community.

It created the Money Energy Hub, featuring tips on how people can make their home more energy efficient, information about benefits and funding available to people and advice about dealing with energy debt. The website has been made possible by grant funding from British Gas Energy Trust.

Chief Executive Officer Zinthya Ganeshpanchan said:

“In one of the most diverse areas of the country, energy advice was continually being given in English. And after the pandemic, when so many organisations reduced their services and other services simply closed down, the demand for services increased dramatically. This combination of issues meant we had extremely high waiting lists for our own services.

If we do the same thigs over and over again, we will get the same results. Leicester has high rates of poverty, high rates of deprivation, high rates of debt. It’s a very challenging area.

So, it was time to do something a bit different. The website helps to break down some of the barriers placed against accessing information.

It’s been running three years and feedback has been very good. It doesn’t replace our service, but instead offers an access point for people to learn about their situation and the help available, so they can be supported by our team when the time is right.”

As we start the new year, Zinthiya believes that it could be another tough period for many in her community.

She added:

“We have seen that some – but not all – energy prices are coming down. It’s welcome news, but it doesn’t mean much if food prices go up. We work in a very challenging area and because of the lack of services, we know people will struggle. We still have a waiting list but thankfully it’s not as long as it once was.

But thanks to British Gas Energy Trust, we’ve been able to increase the hours of some of our team, so we’re able to support more people in the community.”

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