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The Money and Power project aimed to deliver energy advice appointments to 250 people, make up to 100 crisis payments and refer up to 150 people for energy advice.
The Agnes Smith Advice Centre, based in Oxford, have provided free advice and representation to people in their local community for more than 40 years, with a particular focus on welfare benefits, debt and housing issues.
In 2019, Agnes Smith Advice Centre saw an opportunity to further their reach with the Energy Redress Scheme. Their Money and Power project proposed to reduce fuel poverty in Blackbird Leys, an area of multiple deprivation on the south-eastern edge of Oxford.
With successful funding of their project, their new and upskilled advisers delivered over 430 appointments for energy and welfare advice, 100 crisis payments and 130 energy advice referrals in the first year of the project, in addition to helping over 80 people impacted by COVID-19.
The project also saw more than £100,000 of welfare benefit gains for the local community and wrote off debt of more than £213,000. A member of staff at Oxford City Council said, “We’ve been incredibly proud to be working with Agnes Smith Advice Centre and moved by the amazing support they are offering residents.”
Three of their advisers have undertaken energy advice training, including two advisers who achieved City and Guilds level 2 qualifications in Fuel Debt Advice in the Community. This is to ensure the project secured legacy gains for the advice centre.