As the cost-of-living crisis hits Britain, a unique campaign has launched to support people who access and deliver social care to cut their energy bills. With disabled people frequently paying more than double the energy bills of the wider public, and many social care workers struggling with escalating prices, the Taking Charge campaign (www.TakingChargeEnergy.co.uk) offers vital free support at this most difficult of times.
Created by one Britain’s biggest charities, Community Integrated Care, Taking Charge 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, www.TakingChargeEnergy.co.uk 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 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 are 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 simply 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.
hroughout July, Community Integrated Care is hosting a number of fun and engaging free webinars on www.TakingChargeEnergy.co.uk for anyone who accesses or provides social care, and is inviting care services to download their free accessible and easy read toolkits.
John Hughes, Director of Partnerships and Communities at Community Integrated Care, says: “As one of Britain’s biggest social care charities, we can see all too clearly the impact that the energy crisis is having on the social care sector.
We are proud to supporting people through these challenges with a such a creative campaign, that brings to life a range of practical ways that people can reduce their energy bills. Research shows that people who follow our guidance can save hundreds of pounds on their bills, so the potential impact of this campaign is huge.
Feedback on Taking Charge has been incredible. 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 at www.TakingChargeEnergy.co.uk.”
Oliver Thomason, who has led the Taking Charge campaign, says: “As someone who has a learning disability, I am passionate about supporting the care sector through this difficult time. 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.
I would encourage anyone who accesses social care or works in care to visit www.TakingChargeEnergy.co.uk and access our free support. There is really something for everyone in this campaign.”