With disabled people frequently paying more than double the energy bills of the wider public, and many social care workers struggling with escalating prices, a unique campaign has been launched to provide vital free support at this difficult time.
Created by Community Integrated Care, the Taking Charge campaign is designed to support the social care sector to minimise the impact of the growing energy crisis. Offering free live webinars, engaging videos, and a suite of accessible education resources, it gives people essential advice to save hundreds of pounds on their bills this year.
The programme has a vital purpose. Disabled people and people who access social care typically face far higher energy usage than the wider population. With many people using assistive technologies to live with greater independence, needing warmer houses, or having around the clock support, there are multiple factors that see many people who access social care facing significantly higher energy bills.
Research by Scope showed that in February 2022, 4.1 million disabled people were paying £300 more than the national average household energy bill, with almost 800,000 people spending more than £2500 annually, compared to the then national average of £1200. These figures have inevitably increased, with the price cap for a typical UK household energy rising from £1,277 to £1,971 per year.
Similar cost of living challenges is also faced by social care workers. Sadly, despite its skill, accountability and impact, social care remains one of the UK’s lowest paying industries, due to funding constraints on the sector.
With the Taking Charge campaign showing ways that most households can reduce their energy bills by up to 23% by reducing wasted energy, and offering a raft of guidance on how people can buy better and be more energy conscious, participants can save hundreds – potentially thousands of pounds.
Despite the seriousness of the topic, Taking Charge takes a light, upbeat and inclusive look at how to save money. The campaign is led by Oliver Thomason, who has a learning disability and works for Community Integrated Care. From creating a mock horror film, where Oliver shares the energy draining Vampire Devices lurking in most houses, to finding his perfect shower song, it offers a uniquely engaging approach to education. This inclusive approach means that the education is directly engaging to many people who have learning disabilities and require adapted information. “I have learned so much about energy usage through co-producing the Taking Charge campaign. I am sure that this project will make a big difference to people’s lives this year,” said Oliver.
Throughout July, Community Integrated Care is hosting a number of fun and engaging free webinars for anyone who accesses or provides social care, and is inviting care services to download their free accessible, and easy read toolkits.
“Feedback on Taking Charge has been incredible,” said John Hughes, Director of Partnerships and Communities, Community Integrated Care. “We have piloted this programme internally and 100% of our attendees have said that it has helped them to feel more confident in managing their energy bills. We are excited to extend this impact by inviting anyone in the social care sector to join one of our free webinars and claim our accessible learning resources.”
Visit the Taking Charge campaign website here.