COVID-19 update: we have stopped all new work unless customers have no heat, hot water or there is a life risk. Where we do continue with any work, we will carry out an appropriate risk assessment. We appreciate this is a fast-moving situation, so if you have any queries regarding Nest, you can contact a member of our Partnership Development Team (contact details can be found at the footer of this email).
Care & Repair, Gwynedd and Anglesey
Name: Angela Morris
Role: Energy and Debt Caseworker
Angela works at Citizens Advice Powys as an energy adviser on the Warmer Wales project, alongside her work as a debt adviser. The project runs in 14 local Citizens Advice offices across Wales and delivers free, independent and confidential energy advice given by qualified advisers including practical energy efficiency advice, tariff switching and getting the best energy deal for clients as part of a holistic service alongside debt advice, benefit checks and budgeting advice. The project is delivered through face to face meetings, telephone advice and home visits which targets vulnerable, fuel poor households, so that no one has to make the choice between heating and eating.
To protect the clients privacy we have changed his name.
Mr Jones has worked all his life and has battled living with depression and anxiety, but always managed to keep a job down. Soon after starting a new job and buying a house that needed renovating, Mr Jones’ depression became so debilitating that he lost his job and became a recluse. His health deteriorated and he began to have problems with his chest. His home had been stripped down to the bare shell. Mr Jones had no heating, no kitchen or running water downstairs. His walls needed plastering and the roof was leaking.
After time Mr Jones started to struggle with the mortgage and fell into debt. He approached Citizens Advice for help as he didn’t know which way to turn. We started by completing a full benefit check and helped him apply for ESA, PIP, Housing benefit and Council Tax reduction. We signposted Mr Jones to his local mental health organisation where he received counselling and one-to-one support to engage in the community.
Mr Jones also had help with his debts where we liaised with his creditor’s on his behalf and set up reduced payment plans as he was very close to losing his home and being made homeless. We helped him claim PPI which helped to pay off his mortgage arrears. We then looked at how we could help him within the home. We applied to The Big Difference Scheme and got his annual water bill reduced by 90%. We completed a gas and electric comparison and switched him to a cheaper supplier who was able to offer him the Warm Home Discount.
Mr Jones had a kitchen ready to go in the property but he was in no way capable of doing the work. We liaised closely with his mental health team and were able to get help through a building peer mentor and volunteers to help him fit his kitchen and plaster some walls. He was then ready for a full Nest assessment. Nest approved his application and were able to fit a new gas boiler and central heating system in Mr Jones’ home, along with new radiators. This was a godsend to Mr Jones sense of well-being. He became more interested in working on his home again and his overall health started to improve.
“Through our continued work with Mr Jones and support from his mental health team, he has made a huge step forward in his recovery. Mr Jones is aware that his depression is not something he will always be able to control but he has the ability to see a future now, and that keeps him going. At one point he claimed he was very close to “giving up” and could not see any way out of his problems. These days, I see a marked improvement in the way Mr Jones carries himself. He has found his pride again.”
With COVID-19 bringing outreach events and face-to-face meetings to a halt, Pete and Dylan are both still working hard to ensure the Nest scheme is still in contact with existing and potential partners. Both Pete and Dylan are available over the phone or via email, you can find their details below.
Meeting with existing, new and potential partners is an essential part of both Pete and Dylan’s role with Nest, and it’s through these meetings and outreach events that allows more homeowners across Wales to access the scheme. Once UK Government sanctions change and outreach events and meetings are once again prohibited, Pete and Dylan will once again become available.