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Fuel Poverty and Mental Health

Beat the Cold is currently delivering Changes4Warmth, a Big Lottery funded project in partnership with Changes Health and Wellbeing. It aims to address the fuel poverty of people with mental health needs through offering assistance to mental health service users. SHUSU has worked with the organisation on two pieces of research. These contribute towards an overall evaluation of this project and an exploration of the relationship between mental health and fuel poverty.

The first, funded by the Chesshire Lehmann Fund, was co-produced with Beat the Cold and Changes Health and Wellbeing staff and volunteers. Volunteer interviewers received training in research and interviewing, were closely involved with developing the research and interview questions, and carried out the majority of the interviews.

The report draws on the interviews to contribute to understandings of the relationship between mental health and wellbeing, cold homes, and the experience of fuel poverty. It looks in particular at the role of home visits carried out by energy advisors and the ways in which these helped to give service users a sense of control over their energy consumption and to access support available to them.

The second, is based on a set of interviews and focus groups conducted by SHUSU with the aim of evaluating Changes4Warmth and looking potential future directions and opportunities.

Principal Investigator: Dr Graeme Sherriff

Funders: Chesshire Lehmann Fund

Project 1: 'I was frightened to put the heating on' Evaluating the Changes4Warmth approach to cold homes and mental health

Project 2: ‘Changes4Warmth: Lessons Learned & Directions Forward’