British Gas and Post Office unite to provide free in-person support in communities worst affected by energy debt

·6 min read

- Partnership will see British Gas Energy Trust Energy Debt advisors host 1:1s with people struggling with energy debt at Post Office locations across UK

- 40% of adults will struggle to pay their next bill and of those, over a third (35%) will suffer in silence

- The 'Stop the Silence Pop-Ups' will offer practical and financial advice in towns and cities across the UK throughout May and June

LONDON, May 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- British Gas and Post Office are building on their partnership with a new initiative to support people struggling to pay their energy bills with in-person community pop-ups, launching Monday 23rd May in Post Offices across the UK.

British Gas and Post Office unite to provide free in-person support in communities worst affected by energy debt
British Gas and Post Office unite to provide free in-person support in communities worst affected by energy debt

The rising cost of living means more people are experiencing financial difficulty for the first time. Many people worried about money and energy debt may not know where to turn, or how to take the first step in understanding what support is available.  To address this, the initiative will see British Gas Energy Trust Energy Debt advisors attend local Post Office branches to provide confidential, face to face sessions to anyone in the community seeking either financial or practical advice, with the following locations launching in the first week:

  • GlasgowNile St Post Office (Monday 23rd May, Tuesday 24th May & Wednesday 25th May between 12pm-4pm)

  • West Bromwich – Sandwell Centre Post Office (Monday 23rd May and Wednesday 25th May between 12-4pm)

  • Cardiff – Albany Rd Post Office (Thurs 26th and Fri 27th May between 12-4pm)

  • London – Kennington Park Post Office (Friday 27th May between 12pm-5pm)

After these, further Stop the Silence Pop Ups across the country will launch over the following 3 weeks, offering walk-ins for those just popping in or on an appointment basis.

British Gas research conducted by YouGov, found that 40% of adults will struggle to pay their next energy bill with more than a third (35%) suffering in silence. The research identified the emotional toll energy debt was causing, with two-thirds (65%) reporting increased anxiety as a result of struggling to pay their energy bills.

Jessica Taplin, British Gas Energy Trust Chief Executive, said: "Partnering with Post Office, an organisation that remained a constant in our lives even throughout the pandemic, will help provide a lifeline to those communities we know are really struggling. The Trust's mission is to help alleviate the detrimental impact of poverty and being visible in more local, familiar places like Post Office enables us to reach even more people; especially as you don't have to be British Gas customer to access the help and support offered at these pop ups, or from The Trust itself. Our aim is to run these pop ups throughout the summer and potentially beyond this, particularly when the next energy price increase is announced, and even more people might be looking for help."

The one-to-one sessions will be run by trained Energy Debt advisors from organisations funded through the British Gas Energy Trust and they're for anyone facing financial hardship and energy debt. Customers will be given a step-by-step overview of the support available to them, signpost them to other organisations who may be able to help, check benefits entitlement and provide energy-saving tips and advice.

Nick Read, Post Office Chief Executive, said: "Post Offices are at the heart of every community. Millions of people visit our branches each week to pay bills or top up their gas and electricity metres. We know from what Postmasters tell us that there are people really struggling out there to pay their bills and they're seeing customers come through their door for the first time asking what support is available for bill payments. We're proud to be partnering with British Gas on such an important initiative. We'll be closely monitoring how helpful people find these new pop-up support centres and encourage anyone who lives close to one and is struggling, to attend a free, private consultation at our branch."

British Gas Energy Trust is an independent Charitable Trust established and solely funded by British Gas to alleviate the detrimental impact of energy stress on its customers as well as people with other providers. The Trust helps people in - or at risk of - financial hardship make their energy payments and manage their finances through support, education and sound money management.

To find your nearest Stop the Silence Pop-Up, visit: britishgasenergytrust.org.uk  or postoffice.co.uk.

To find out more about The British Gas Energy Trust Stop the Silence campaign visit: https://www.britishgas.co.uk/energy/british-gas-energy-trust.html.

Notes to editors

  • The Stop The Silence Pop-Ups are the next phase of British Gas's campaign to raise awareness of the help available to those struggling with energy debt via the British Gas Energy Trust. It follows the launch of a compelling film highlighting the real-life impact of energy debt, narrated by campaign ambassador Professor Green.

  • If the Pop Ups outlined in the release are well attended by the community, there's scope for the initiative to continue beyond this first phase.

  • The British Gas Energy Trust helps people with financial advice, energy efficiency advice and measures, fuel vouchers, checking benefit entitlements and accessing debt support charities.

  • The British Gas Energy Trust runs a £6m fund for British Gas customers to provide grants between £250 and £750 to those struggling with energy costs - and many suppliers offer similar funds. The British Gas Energy Trust also runs a fund which any consumer can access (regardless of which energy supplier they are with) to provide grants up to £1,000 and this fund will open on 1st July.

About British Gas

British Gas is Britain's leading supplier of energy and services and the country's biggest retailer of zero carbon electricity. We are part of Centrica, a company founded on a 200-year heritage of serving people. We provide energy and services to over 7 million UK homes and businesses, supported by around 7,500 highly trained engineers and technicians. We also offer a range of innovative products and services, including Hive and our on-demand digital trades service, Local Heroes. Our purpose of helping customers live sustainably, simply and affordably drives our strategy and our People and Planet Plan.

About British Gas Energy Trust

The British Gas Energy Trust  was established in 2004 by British Gas as an independent Charitable Trust and remains the largest of its nature in the UK and is focused on contributing to the relief of poverty, with a particular focus on helping alleviate fuel poverty. It delivers through direct access grant programmes for individuals and families, as well as through the funding of 24 third-sector organisations from across the UK, who deliver a variety of in-depth money advice programmes and projects within communities.

The aims of the Trust are to:

  • Help people avoid the burden of energy debt, make informed energy choices and improve their control over household finances. We envisage that this will lead to healthier homes and enhanced wellbeing.

  • Enhance the capacity of the organisations we fund, enabling the development and provision of holistic support, money, energy and advice services; for the benefit of people in financial hardship.

About Post Office

  • With over 11,500 branches, Post Office has the biggest retail network in the UK, with more branches than all the banks and building societies combined.

  • Post Office is helping anyone who wants cash to get it whichever way is most convenient. Partnership with over 30 banks, building societies and credit unions means that 99% of UK bank customers can access their accounts at their Post Office.

  • Cash withdrawals, deposits and balance enquiries can be made securely and conveniently over the counter at any Post Office; and the biggest investment by any organisation or company in the last decade is being made to safeguard 1,400 free-to-use ATMs across the UK.

  • Post Office is simplifying its proposition for Postmasters with a focus on its cash and banking; mails and parcels; foreign exchange; and bill payments services.

  • Research has found that visits to the Post Office help drive another 400 million visitors to other shops, restaurants and local businesses equating to an estimated £1.1 billion in additional revenue for High Street businesses.

  • 99.7% of the population live within three miles of a Post Office; and 4,000 branches are open seven days a week.

*Research was conducted by You Gov Plc. Total sample size was 2019 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 22nd - 23rd March 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+)

 

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The ‘Stop the Silence Pop-Ups' will offer practical and financial advice in towns and cities across the UK throughout May and June
The ‘Stop the Silence Pop-Ups' will offer practical and financial advice in towns and cities across the UK throughout May and June
Stop the Silence Pop-Ups are launching Monday 23rd May in Post Offices across the UK.
Stop the Silence Pop-Ups are launching Monday 23rd May in Post Offices across the UK.