Our collaborations are up for two Business Charity Awards

09 Apr 2024

Our work with charities and other energy networks to support customers living in vulnerable circumstances has been recognised with two nominations at the Business Charity Awards.

We’ve been nominated in the Best Response to the Cost-of-Living Crisis category for our work to support Marie Curie alongside our colleagues at Cadent, Northern Gas Networks and Wales & West Utilities. Meanwhile, our collaboration with Cadent, Northern Gas Networks, Wales & West Utilities and UK Power Networks for the ‘Scope disability energy support with water advice service’ has been nominated in the Consortium Award category.

The Business Charity Awards are held every year to celebrate the important collaborative work between businesses and charities, showcasing the companies that are leading the charge in creating positive change.

Emily Burt, Editor at awards organiser Third Sector, said: “At a time when both the private and the charitable sectors are facing immense challenges, great partnerships between these groups have continued to deliver immensely positive change over the last year.”

Maureen McIntosh, Director of Customer Service at SGN, said: “We’re so proud that our important collaborative projects have been recognised by the Business Charity Awards. Working closely with our partners at the other networks, it’s encouraging to see the real world difference Marie Curie and Scope are having for thousands of vulnerable people and their families. We’re only at the beginning of our work with them and I’m looking forward to developing our relationships and supporting even more people.”

The winners will be announced on 16 May at a ceremony in London

A carer in a Marie Curie uniform with a person with grey hair

Best Response to the Cost-of-Living Crisis: The UK Gas Distribution Networks and Marie Curie

The cost-of-living crisis is of increasing concern for everyone, but those diagnosed with a terminal illness have a disproportionate risk of falling into fuel poverty. The three-year £1.7m partnership between the gas distribution networks (Cadent, Northern Gas Networks, SGN and Wales & West Utilities) and Marie Curie launched in November 2022 at a crucial time for those at the end of life.

The funding has enabled:
• The recruitment of Energy Support Officers to Marie Curie’s Information & Support line, providing in-depth information on the grants and benefits available to support patients and families with rising energy bills and the cost of living.
• Bespoke fuel poverty awareness training rolled out to Marie Curie healthcare professionals to identify those struggling to pay their bills and signpost to support available.

The impact after one year of the partnership has been incredible with:
• Over £1.2M worth of benefits identified for those in need.
• 2,705 people with a terminal illness supported by Energy Support Officers.
• 11,177 people accessed energy resources on Marie Curie website.
• 572 Marie Curie healthcare staff completing fuel poverty awareness training.

With at least two years to go, this partnership will continue to support those at the end of life across the UK struggling with the rising cost-of-living.
A black woman with a prosthetic leg adjusting her thermometer

Consortium Award: Scope disability energy support with water advice service

Many disabled people tell us they face the stark choice of heating or eating to alleviate financial pressures. Every day Scope receive calls from disabled people who are living in cold homes, skipping meals and even unable to afford to shower.

Scope’s ‘Disability Price Tag’ research shows that on average, disabled households need an additional £975 a month to have the same standard of living as non-disabled households.

In 2020, the Energy Savings Trust funded Scope to set up a new service, Disability Energy Support (DES). DES delivers energy advice and support to disabled people. Prior to the cost of living crisis, fuel poverty was already an issue for disabled people.

Scope and its consortium of partners (Cadent, Northern Gas Networks, SGN, UK Power Networks and Wales & West Utilities) have been working closely together to make the referral journey to DES as smooth as possible and, crucially, to support the industry to learn from what we are hearing, and take action to understand and support their disabled customers.

Since it was launched, DES has supported 17,434 people through the cost of living crisis, saving disabled consumers an estimated £4.2M. As demand for the service has increased, so has funding for it, and support, from a range of partners.