On 5th October we were delighted to be invited to the Refugee Council in Leeds to provide frontline staff training to their Project Workers. The Refugee Council works with refugees and people seeking asylum in the UK, offering practical support and advice throughout their journey in the UK. The team based in Leeds covers Leeds itself, Wakefield and North Yorkshire.
Sorting out utility bills is always an early challenge for anyone moving into a new home, let alone for families who are setting up home in this country for the first time. There can be the temptation for us just to stick with whichever energy company already supplies the property when we move in, without realising the difference in prices that different suppliers offer. Ensuring that families who have just arrived in this country are on the cheapest possible energy prices is really important to minimise outgoings. Through the frontline staff training we demonstrated to project workers how they can go about finding cheap deals by using an online comparison site. It won't be completely accurate as the families are new to the country and do not yet know how much energy they will use. However, we can estimate based on type of house, number of occupants, levels of insulation etc. Switching the supply online can then also help mitigate any early language challenges that may arise when it comes to ringing energy suppliers.
Through the training we also made sure that project workers were aware of schemes that can help families with their utility costs such as the Warm Home Discount scheme and support that Yorkshire Water offers to low income households. Two families in Selby have already been able to apply for the WHD with their supplier.
The final element of the session gave a quick overview of different types of heating controls and how they can be set, as well as some top tips on saving energy that can be shared with households. We hope to now develop a working relationship with the team in Leeds and can offer home visits to any new arrivals in the Selby District to help them to get their energy accounts set-up and to ensure that heating systems are fully understood.