Energy Know How

Susan was referred to Energy Know How from the befriending team, she had mentioned that she was struggling with an energy bill.

Sharon called her initially in mid-December 2021. Susan explained that she had received a large bill from Scottish Power for £476.00 which was just for one months’ energy usage and then said that she hadn’t wanted to switch her energy to them.

When Sharon asked Susan further questions, she revealed that two people had knocked on her door about 6 weeks earlier saying they could make her bills cheaper. Susan had prepayment meters with Utilita and as a carer for her disabled son, these helped her to control her spending and she was happy with them.

One of the people at her door proceeded to persuade Susan to hand over her phone – he called a number and instructed Susan to say he had left although he was still there…he was guiding her to answer the questions and had placed the phone call onto the speaker – several times Susan had confirmed she did not want to switch but was assured she was just getting cheaper bills.

Her prepayment meters were converted, and she had just received a bill for £476.00 which she cannot pay as she was used to topping up small amounts regularly. She was very upset.

Sharon was very shocked by the circumstances and emailed the CEO of Scottish Power to make a complaint on Susan’s behalf.

Sharon received a response to confirm that the switch would be reversed using the ‘erroneous transfer’ charter and that she would be returned to Utilita from Scottish Power. It also confirmed that the situation would be reviewed by the manager of the sales team as I had stated clearly that these actions were out of order.

Sharon informed Susan and she was very pleased with this outcome, she was advised to put aside monies that she would have been topping up with as she will have to pay for energy used however, she will be put back on prepayment meters with Utilita as she had requested.

Susan will be very wary of callers at her door and is requesting ‘no caller’ stickers to place on her door to prevent this happening again.

Making Our Money Go Further

Sam attended one of our first Job Club events in the autumn. They had not worked for over ten years and were very anxious about attending the session and discussing their situation. They were helped by Working Win, who give employment advice for people looking for work, in work and struggling or in work and off sick. Working Win supported them to find work as a delivery driver. Since finding employment and a job they like and are good at Sam’s confidence and skills have soared and they are now training to be an HGV driver.

Making Our Money Go Further

Social Supermarket at Rotherham Minster referred B over to us because she was homeless and had been living in her car with her dog for 3 months. I called B on a Friday afternoon and she told me all about her struggles and the events up to her becoming homeless and it was evident that she was really struggling with her mental and physical health. I referred her to safeguarding straight away. I followed up on Monday morning and she seemed to be a totally different person. She told me that the homeless team had come straight out to her in her car and had placed her in a little bungalow, all before 9pm that Friday. She was so shocked at how quick she had been rehomed but was absolutely over the moon. She was crying on the phone when I spoke to her on Monday, but instead of the upset tears that she had on Friday, it was happy tears with the sense of relief that she had a roof over her head.

Manvers Residents Association

Rachel Cole, Project Officer

I was first asked if I could support this group in Summer 2021 through RMBC. A few residents who live on the Manvers estate had got together and wanted to try and challenge Manvers Lake Trust about the yearly fees they all must pay to help towards the upkeep of the lake. Their first meeting was held at the Wath Rugby Club and all residents from the estate were invited. About 30 residents attended this meeting and it was discussed with the help of Cllr Barley how they could approach the Manvers Lake Trust. After that meeting, I helped the group to select the key people required, Chair, Secretary and Treasurer, for the committee and helped write a constitution, they also opened their own bank account. Two members of the group attended the training that RotherFed and VAR delivered on Setting Up Groups. 

The group are now known as the Manvers Residents Association and whilst they still continue to challenge the Manvers Lake Trust regarding the fees, they are also starting to be very active group and are putting events etc on for the community. They organised their first community litter pick in December, it was a great turnout and over 40 bags of rubbish were collected. Their next litter pick will be in March. They also successfully applied for some CLF funding from the local Councillors and did a Christmas Elf hunt. They hid 50 elves around the estate and set up a treasure map. Very positive feedback was received from the community.

The group are wanting to hold an event for the Queens Jubilee and plans for this are now underway.  They have recently applied for the COMF funding. They have also applied to become RotherFed members. I will continue to work with and support this group as required. 

Woodsetts TARA

By Rob Gooding, Community Organiser

Woodsetts TARA (tenants and residents association) formed in November to tackle social problems around off-road bikes and anti-social behaviour in the fields around the area as well as the loneliness that the residents of Woodsetts and the surrounding area have felt throughout the pandemic. The group have gone from strength to strength quickly, becoming a constituted group with a core of 10 people lead by parish councillors, the group have starting their monthly coffee mornings to give residents a place to come together and talk.

Over the last few months the group have attracted a large Facebook following, attracting around 100 members, and this is still growing fast. The group attract an average of 30 people physically attending their coffee morning every month at the Parish Hall where the group are treated to homemade cakes and buns along with a drink and a chat.

The group are currently working with myself and Nicky Haze, the Neighbourhood coordinator for Woodsetts to put on a number of events over the year, the first of these being a Jubilee Street party, quickly followed by a picnic in the park. Later in the year there will be a pie and peas evening for bonfire nigh as well as much more still to be finalised.

We have just finished working on a COMF funding bid to host these events as well as keeping the coffee mornings running and increasing the frequency of these, now the group are looking to get Lottery funding for several subsidised daytrips for members of the group to enjoy. The group hope that this will further increase engagement and allow them to host more events for the residents of the area.

St Mary’s Neighbourhood Centre

By Zoe Roberts, Activities Co-ordinator

St Mary’s had previous been a centre with no activity. Since starting working with the session, we have successful run coffee morning, a quiz session and a multi-agency drop in at the centre. Since Christmas, we have held crafts sessions at the centre. This has been attended by eight people. The ladies have enjoyed their first six sessions and we have looked to book in another set.

We discussed them setting an informal group up themselves but no one wanted the responsibility. They feel they would be out of pocket having to buy resources and much prefer to attend organised things as they are learning new skills.

We are now looking into this so that we can leave centres with ‘leavers packs’. This will include teas, coffee etc as well as other practical and fun resources. However, this should help ease the transition to maintaining activities. We are going to arrange another coffee morning with them and look to hold a multi-agency in the centre once a quarter with the support of our HRA contract. In attention to this, we have arranged for exercise sessions to take place at the centre with RUCST.

The centre and the fledging groups is likely to need some kind of continued support, into the year. However, from a centre where there was previously no activity and the only use was from Mears (whose staff use this centre for lunches), it has been positive to start to see a growth in there.

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RotherFed Read

After the success of his intervention with the lack of food provision for low-income families during the school holidays, Marcus Rashford launched a book club with the aim of getting books into the homes of some of the most vulnerable children in our society. With statistics reading that if a young person isn’t at their expected reading age by Year 2 then they will always be playing catch up. 25% of 15-year-olds have a reading age of only 12, these 15-year-olds are then expected to sit GCSE qualifications without the full comprehensive capacity to understand all of the questions.

We wanted to make a change within the areas that the lottery areas that we work in. We decided to run book collection event at venues across the funded areas such as community stands and schools. We incentivized the book collections from the community by adding a name into the hat for each donor of the project. We chose to select waterstones vouchers as a prize so that those who donated could buy some new books. We had received an estimated 250 books through families and schools.

Continue reading “RotherFed Read”

Leverton Way TARA

Rachel first started working with this group in November 2020 whilst we were in lockdown. As it was not possible for the group to meet due to the restrictions, Peter the Chair kept in regular contact with the group, either by phone or calling in on them whilst walking his dog. He also did a Fish and Chip run every Friday to the local fish shop, for the group and other local residents. To a lot of residents this was a real treat and something to look forward to. Peter featured in the RMBC Home Matters magazine for his fish and chip runs.

Once the neighbourhood centres opened again, the group started to meet back up in person, they were so happy to get back inside the centre and all get together.  They hold a breakfast coffee morning every Tuesday from 10am and continue to have their fish and chips on a Friday, but this is now in the centre at 12 noon.  I have met this group on several occasions now and help and support them where I can.  The group would like to get some new members to join the group, they don’t have to be residents just from Leverton Way, they can be from further afield. I have discussed with the group different ideas to get more people interesting in attending i.e. arts and crafts, day trips, events etc. The group like to put on lunches too but needed new equipment to enable them to do this.

Rachel supported the TARA to put in for the COMF funding and they have been successful. This will enable the group to purchase the new cooking equipment they require and also put on events etc.  I will support them all with this in 2022. The funding also paid for the group to have a Christmas meal out together. 

This is a really friendly group who want to make a difference for the people around. I really enjoyed working with Peter and the other members.

Energy Know How Case Study

Energy Know How have been working with Green Doctor on how we can help people heat their homes for less and how to support our most vulnerable clients. We quickly discovered that our community groups would benefits from Green Doctor’s Winter Warmer packs, especially the older people groups. With the winter months ahead of us, we learnt that we have clients that could benefit from these packs massively.

We have been visiting Green Doctor’s office in Morley to fill our cars with the packs, as well as help pack them all together. Each pack has a pair of gloves, hat, fleece snude, socks, thermal mug, blanket and a hot water bottle.

We have started this with such great success, we’ve had the packs for less than 3 months and already provided over 100 packs to Rotherham residents. We are looking forward to continue in the new year!

Energy Know How case study

We met the client initially in September after visiting a group that she and her husband attended.

A short while after we were asked by a colleague from another project to contact her by phone as she needed some help with her bills. The client had accrued a substantial credit and wanted to know if and how this could be claimed back.  We gave the client information about how to do this and she called back to say her energy provider was arranging for smart meters to be installed (which she was happy with) and once done she should receive a refund within 7-10 days of £1,100.00. This was scheduled to happen in early November and the client was happy to wait a little while as smart meters would make it easier for her to take readings in the future.

In Mid-November the client contacted Sharon again as she had her new meters but had not received any further information about her refund and the timescale previously given had elapsed. The client was becoming exasperated with her energy provider and had called them several times.

Sharon made a complaint on behalf of the client to the CEO’s office at her energy supplier and following contact with the client it was confirmed that refunds had been processed on 18th November.

Unfortunately, these did not materialise. I chased up this complaint on several occasions until eventually the client confirmed receipt of her substantial refund early in December. I had made it clear in my emails to her energy provider that their service had fallen short of what was expected, and they offered the client an additional £120.00 credit on her bill for the customer service failures.

Although this took more time to resolve than it should, the client has now received her refund and compensation. She does also now have smart meters so she can get readings easier and prevent estimated bills in the future which contributed to the build-up of the large credit balance.

Client has been asked to check that the £120.00 credit shows on her next bill – if it does not, she has been asked to let me know and I will complain again.

A ‘thank you’ message was received from the client.