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The Royal National Institute of Blind People’s British Gas Energy Trust funded project

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has launched its winter campaign supporting blind and partially sighted people through the coldest months with energy and income maximisation advice, funded by British Gas Energy Trust.

The bespoke, fully funded energy advice service offers key information, energy advice and one-to-one support over the phone and online. Many more blind and partially sighted people will also benefit from RNIB’s online resources this winter, which include its existing benefits calculator and Priority Services Register guide, and a new energy factsheet and energy saving tips.

The team’s wide-ranging energy advice is tailored to support blind and partially sighted people, and covers topics including:

RNIB already offers a Sight Loss Advice Service, which is primarily delivered over the phone, with back up from local champions in the community. With the grant money, the scope of the service was extended to include a much-needed energy advice component, delivered by a team of three which includes an energy specialist Sight Loss Adviser and two Energy Gurus. The Energy Gurus have received training to offer supervised energy advice, and have lived experience of sight loss.

British Gas Energy Trust has been funding RNIB’s energy advice service since January 2023, supporting them to provide vital, unbiased, and impartial energy advice to blind and partially sighted people. In the last few months, RNIB’s Trust funded project has dedicated over 345 case work hours to supporting more than 110 clients.

RNIB has also added energy saving advice to the Sight Advice FAQ, a singular website providing a multitude of sight loss support, created in partnership by RNIB and organisations including Guide Dogs, Visionary, Fight for Sight, VICTA, Macular Society, Thomas Pocklington Trust, and Retina UK.

Mari Jones, RNIB’s Chief Operating Officer, said:

“The current cost of living crisis is disproportionately impacting blind and partially sighted people, who are more likely to be in lower-income households and need more energy than the average person to live their daily lives. We also know that people with sight loss are twice as likely to be digitally excluded, which means they’re less likely to be able to find the best money-saving deals. We’re delighted to be working with the British Gas Energy Trust to provide vital energy support and income maximisation advice to help those we support through these tough times. Thanks to the Trust’s support, our Sight Loss Advice service now offers energy advice for the first time in its history. This funding has also enabled the creation of new specialist energy adviser roles, so we can offer bespoke advice on a wide range of energy issues – including help getting the best energy tariff, managing energy use at home, and getting energy bills in an accessible format – at a time when this support is so crucial.”

Energy saving advice for blind and partially sighted people | RNIB