Working with Foundations Independent Living Trust (FILT), we have been able to intervene with a little help for people at the time it’s most important: when an actual or potential problem with a gas appliance has already been identified.
Over 1,000 small grants have been provided, often matched by others who have made people safer, warmer, less stressed and less anxious.
FILT is a registered charity. Its mission includes providing financial support for health-critical and safety-related works around the home for older and/or vulnerable householders often surviving on means tested benefits in fuel-poor situations. FILT provides a unique mechanism enabling targeted and rapid crisis interventions at a local level.
Since 2013, Gas Safe Charity has been working in partnership with FILT on a project aimed at improving gas safety in the homes of older, disabled and vulnerable people in cases of hardship and urgency. The scheme enables the delivery of preventive services that directly address the risks of death, injury and illness caused by dangerous gas work and appliances, and the promotion of gas safety awareness across the UK.
Gas Safe Charity provides a Hardship Fund to identify and undertake practical gas safety interventions, such as the replacement, repair and servicing of dangerous, faulty gas appliances and installations that put the safety of vulnerable people at risk in their own homes. FILT provides the mechanisms to distribute small and medium sized local and regional hardship grants, manage the spend levels and monitor performance.
FILT conducts this help through its network of local delivery partners: Home Improvement Agencies (HIAs) in England; Care and Repair offices in Scotland; and in Wales with Care & Repair Cymru. These trusted local providers move quickly to tackle a range of problems in the homes of older and vulnerable people, and ensure work is done to the correct standards.
The local emergency grants are modest – on average £199 - but the funding has high impact and helps people to stay independent and safe in their own homes for as long as possible.
Following a successful pilot in 2013 with six HIAs able to draw down local hardship funds, the project is being scaled up significantly to cover most of the UK over a three year period. Gas Safe Charity is now seeking to build on, and further develop and enhance, the programme.
To find out more about the work FILT does, and to see how your organisation can either help or get support, go to filt.org.uk