The report is an overview of the award-winning 70+ Cymru project, which aimed to reduce the impact and severity of fuel poverty on older people who live in their own home or privately rent.
The project lasted for 30 months and, with a team of just eight, the service reached 2,988 households with advice and support. This included almost 1,000 in-person home visits.
The project improved lives, amplified the voices of older people in Wales and drew attention to major issues that were not being addressed effectively, or are happening under the radar. We have identified themes that we have been able to flag and highlight at a national level.
As inflation soared and energy bills skyrocketed, we saw an increase in companies ‘greenwashing’ products such as spray foam loft insulation. We have encountered several companies that claim to sell an energy saving measure at highly inflated prices that will receive free government grants – allegedly ‘saving’ customers 50% initially and much more over a lifetime. Salespeople have been pressuring older owner occupiers to pay immediate, large cash deposits with promises that their product would save money on energy bills.
Through late summer and autumn 2022, our staff encountered stories of the fear and anxiety their clients were expressing at home visits.
As the cost-of-living crisis started to bite, we adapted under pressure as options to help people make immediate financial and energy savings, such as to switch tariff and suppliers, disappeared overnight. Nevertheless, staff relied on using their knowledge and skills to listen to clients’ fears, and to help unpick and allay those fears.
Fuel Poverty Vs Decarbonisation
At the start of the project, we found that fuel poverty and decarbonisation were mostly considered separate issues that were not being addressed together. We found that this separation had huge potential to negatively impact people already experiencing fuel poverty well into the future. We were concerned that older people living in Wales’ private housing sector would get left behind in the drive to achieve net-zero.
If government funding committed to improving the long-term thermal efficiency of properties as and when it funded new, efficient and low carbon heating options, all citizens would benefit and people in most need would not get left behind.
We are proud of the impact and outcomes the 70+ Cymru team achieved for vulnerable older people across the whole of Wales, and how they addressed the inequalities that so many people struggled with in these difficult times.
If you have any questions about the report or the 70+ Cymru Project, please contact Chris Jones, Care & Repair Cymru Chief Executive: email@example.com