Having initiated 65 projects aimed at aiding vulnerable customers, NGN is now seeking to expand its outreach by establishing new partnerships across Yorkshire, northern Cumbria, and the North East.
The gas distributor, Northern Gas Networks, recently convened with specialists in health and social care, as well as groups with vested interests, with the objective of addressing the impact of fuel poverty on health outcomes.
Given that, 1 in 5 gas customers may require additional support during their interactions with NGN, and yet they might only engage with the gas network once in their lifetime, it is imperative that NGN maintains a strategy focused on the well-being of customers in vulnerable situations.
As part of its Customer Vulnerability strategy, NGN arranges events throughout the year aimed at tackling the challenges faced by customers in vulnerable circumstances. These gatherings bring together a diverse network of partners to develop and implement best practices, and to exchange experiences.
In conversations with its partners, NGN, which supplies gas to 2.7 million homes and businesses across Yorkshire, northern Cumbria, and the North East, gains firsthand insight into the needs of customers in vulnerable situations.
Recently, delegates came together to discuss the team’s invaluable work thus far and their future plans to support individuals grappling with fuel poverty.
NGN maintains close collaboration with several partners in the regions it serves. Through its Ofgem-funded Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Allowance (VCMA), NGN offers funding to organisations that are experts in their fields, to offer advice and practical solutions for the challenges faced by individuals struggling to keep their homes warm.
It is now widely recognised that homes that are cold due to fuel poverty exacerbate health disparities, and the area where NGN operates encompasses some of the most economically disadvantaged communities in the UK, spanning from remote parts of rural Northumberland to deprived areas of Bradford.
Eileen Brown, Customer Experience at NGN, remarked, “We were delighted that so many organisations dedicated their time to collaborate with us on how best to allocate the funds available to support local projects addressing the issues affecting our communities.
“Understanding and hearing about these issues from these experts is crucial for us to be able to provide financial support to grassroots organisations directly aiding individuals who are genuinely struggling and anxious about staying warm as the colder months approach.
“Cold homes can cause or exacerbate a range of severe health conditions, and people can lose their lives due to living in a cold home. Fuel poverty can also have a significant impact on mental health.
“Working with expert partners across our region enables us to target advice and raise awareness where it is most needed, and to develop projects that deliver tangible benefits to people’s lives.”
Kate Urwin at the Yorkshire Energy Doctor CIC commented, “I found this workshop to be extremely valuable. It was enlightening to hear about the efforts of other organisations in supporting individuals with health conditions, and the session struck a good balance between presentations and discussions.”
Northern Gas Networks is currently engaged in 65 projects across its geographical footprint and is actively seeking additional partners to join its efforts. If you would like to learn more about the funding opportunities available through Northern Gas Networks, please reach out to Stephanie Ord at SOrd@northerngas.co.uk.