Power network hands out cash for Sign language advisors to help tackle fuel poverty

DeafPlus face-to-face advice line using Sign language. Picture: UK Power

DeafPlus face-to-face advice line using Sign language. Picture: UK Power - Credit: UK Power

Deaf people are soon to get advice in Sign Language on fuel poverty and how to reduce energy bills after an east London charity has won a grant from Britain’s biggest electricity distributor.

The DeafPlus charity has been awarded £8,000 by UK Power Networks to train 15 advisors.

Deaf people are four times more likely to be unemployed and are often on minimum wages when they do find work, according to the charity which is based in Tower Hamlets and Hackney.

“We want to ensure that fewer deaf people are faced with fuel poverty,” its chief executive Gary Williams explained. “This funding allows us to train advisors to offer energy and fuel advice in Sign language.

“Making this type of information advice ‘deaf friendly’ and accessible ensures fuel poverty in the deaf community is reduced.”

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The grant is also helping the charity publish online advice and make a professional Sign language video on how to get help with fuel debt.

Most of the help the charity offers is currently one-to-one confidential advice using Sign Language. It currently works in Tower Hamlets and Hackney as well as Ealing, Bromley and Croydon, but is set to expand nationwide.

The newly-launched Power Partners fund worth £300,000 a year is available to community groups in London, the South East and East Anglia that give advice to people in fuel poverty or to make community spaces more energy efficient through insulation, heating or lighting upgrades.

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