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Welsh Government Warm Homes Nest News

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Welcome to the June edition of the Nest Partner Bulletin
 
COVID-19 update: When undertaking installation work, our contractors will always comply with Welsh Government guidelines in relation to managing the risk of COVID-19. All of our contractors will complete a full risk assessment at every property they visit and follow hygiene procedures in line with Welsh Government guidance, including the use of PPE. Nest’s team will contact all customers prior to a visit to discuss how work will be carried out and the requirements for all parties including social distancing and safe haven procedures that will need to be followed.
Citizens Advice Ynys Môn is part of the larger network of Citizens Advice offices across the UK. Following the wider UK framework of aims and principles; Citizens Advice Ynys Môn remain impartial, confidential, independent and provide a free service.
We spoke to Natalie Looms, Energy Caseworker and Training Officer for Citizens Advice Ynys Môn.
Q&A with Natalie Looms, Ynys Môn CAB
Q: What’s your role at Ynys Môn CAB?
A: My case working role focuses on helping clients find the best deals on their energy bills. As part of the service, I also provide general budgeting and income maximisation advice to clients.
Q: What do you enjoy about your role?
A: I enjoy helping people to feel empowered in their lives, to take control of their finances and feel more secure and warm in their homes. I also train volunteers at our local office, making sure that all the advice we give is accurate and with the client’s best interests at heart.
Q: What challenges do you face in your role?
A:  As with any advice and training role it comes with challenges. Clients often don’t approach advice services until they are faced with emergency situations, such as threats of energy disconnection, or after dealing with a particular issue for several months alone. A particular challenge right now is how to approach advice in an increasingly digital world – so many of our clients are vulnerable due to age or low income, often meaning they cannot access the internet to ask for help or find the best deals on their energy.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice/support you have given to someone who’s reached out to you?
A: The best advice I can give to anyone who reaches out to a Citizens Advice office is to approach your problem impartially and to trust your adviser. This will help us help you to find the best solution to your problem. Also, don’t spend time worrying and trying to solve a difficult problem before asking for help – seek advice straight away and this will hopefully give you more clarity and options in the long run.
Testimonial
 
“On Anglesey many households do not have access to mains gas lines. Many of the properties in these rural pocket communities rely on aged electric central heating systems which can often be costly. With an increasingly ageing population who feel the cold and a large proportion of low income households we find that energy costs are increasingly difficult for our clients to manage with some monthly bills reaching into the hundreds of pounds.
We have helped many of our clients with Nest applications over the years and clients often describe feeling more comfortable in their homes after energy improvements are made, as well as finding a decrease in the overall cost of their bills as a result of using less fuel with more efficient heating.”
Natalie Looms, Ynys Môn CAB

During this year’s Carers Week (8-14 June), Pete, one of Nest’s Partnership Development Managers, provided supported to Ceredigion County Council in the form of two drop-in call service sessions. The two sessions provided in Ceredigion the opportunity to call in and speak to Pete about Nest and any support the scheme could provide.
The phone advice sessions were used as an alternative to the face to face arrangements of previous years. However, Pete was able to reach residents from across the county, including a particularly vulnerable carer that had had held caring responsibilities for their elderly and vulnerable parents for several years, one of which had recently passed away. As the carer was unable to work due to their demanding responsibilities, Pete was able to offer specific advice catered to their needs and concerns about saving money, energy and looking into eligibility for home efficiency measures through the Nest scheme.
June has been a month of re-establishing contacts with local authorities across Wales. Meetings were held with Environment Protection Technician, Housing Improvements Technical Surveyor and Strategic Housing Manager from Ynys môn, Conwy and Gwynedd respectively and a virtual meeting with the Private Sector Housing Lead at Powys County Council. We have updated them on Nest’s response to COVID19 and discussed schemes available to residents and direct mailing campaigns for winter 2020.
Pete and Dylan held meetings with Public Health Wales to present and update on Nest and join/support their “How are you Doing?” campaign. Pete and Dylan were also present at a joint meeting with Ben Saltmarsh, updating him on the scheme and welcoming him into his new role as Head of NEA Cymru.
Dylan has joined several online networking meetings with Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations updating on our current response to COVID19.  Dylan will also be attending Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council’s Dementia Aware Community Led Network Meeting promoting the scheme.  Dylan will also be talking about the Nest scheme at Carers Cymru’s “Care for a Cuppa” network meetings at the end of the month.
Pete met with Pembrokeshire Council Housing Staff to discuss a timeline for a direct mail campaign later this year. Direct mailing is a great asset to the scheme, ensuring homes across Wales are made aware of the support Nest can provide .Pete also met with the Warm Wales delivery team to discuss collaborative working on a two-way referral system for the ECO Flex 3 Scheme in Powys, which Warm Wales will be administering for the Authority.
Similar to his Warm Wales meeting, Pete met with Welsh Government earlier in the month to finalise a two-way referral system with Rent Smart Wales who will deliver a boiler replacement scheme throughout Wales over the next two years.  As we head into July, Pete will be working with the Stroke Association in Bridgend, Cardiff Council Affordable Warmth Forum to ensure that homes across the respective authorities are aware of the scheme and receive the best support possible.
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 Welsh Government sanctions change and outreach events and meetings are once again prohibited, Pete and Dylan will once again become available.
 

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