Author: Jo Harry
The 70+ Cymru Project ran from 2021-2023 and was the only Wales-wide project of its kind. The team worked tirelessly, quietly and away from the limelight to address the inequalities that so many people struggled with in these difficult times across the whole of Wales.
With a team of just eight, the service reached 2,988 households with advice and support during the project’s 24 months. This included almost 1,000 in-person home visits. In total, the value of large energy saving measures installed and financial gains for our clients totalled £1,127,556.
Despite delivering these positive outcomes in exceptionally challenging circumstances, and supporting older people in ways no one else in Wales was, we were unsuccessful in our bid to Energy Redress to continue the project. I am grateful to Wales & West Utilities for stepping in to fund our service to people across Wales over the winter 2022-2023.
70+ Cymru achieved its aims well. The project had a difficult start and took 5½ months to become operational in February 2021. Throughout 2021 our home visiting service was impacted by Covid restrictions and the impact of the virus itself. While the furlough scheme was operational, we found it very difficult to recruit into part-time roles, eventually running five rounds of recruitment which naturally affected our budget and early delivery to target outcomes. Despite this, the 70+ Cymru team fulfilled its primary aim to target older energy consumers in need in the private housing sector. The team delivered specialist home energy support, advice and interventions across Wales, all of which worked to avoid, reduce and lessen fuel poverty. Our project’s positive impact served to help older people be affordably warm and safe at home.
We learnt that clients valued advice and action that could quickly alleviate the home energy related problems they lived with. Our Home Energy Officers developed trusted relationships that enabled clients to be open about the struggles they faced. The team developed specialist skills through experience, learning, sharing and training that strengthened outcomes and built a respected and consistent fuel poverty service across Wales.
Each team member has been completely dedicated to challenge and alleviate fuel poverty and has worked with compassion and professionalism. In January 2023, it was fantastic to celebrate with the team when our achievements were recognised by the Wales Energy Efficiency Awards as ‘Best Vulnerable Customer Support Organisation of the Year’.
Pulling together the outcomes and learning of the project into a report will ensure it can be shared with our partners, third sector organisations and others working to tackle fuel poverty. The report will be published later this month and will be linked to from this page when it is available.
70+ Cymru Project Manager