Report on Islington’s award winning Seasonal Health Interventions Network (SHINE) Project By John Kolm-Murray
In November Islington Council’s Seasonal Health & Affordable Warmth Team won the Energy Institute Community Initiative Award 2014 for their ground-breaking work on establishing a Warm Home Discount bulk referral programme. Islington’s nationally and internationally recognised Seasonal Health Interventions Network (SHINE) project is known for innovative approaches to seasonal health issues. From its start in 2010 SHINE had been very successfully engaging with Islington’s older population however it had less to offer young families and younger people with disabilities. The Warm Home Discount was identified as a major hook to reach these groups.
The difficulties of promoting the Broader Group Warm Home Discount are doubtlessly familiar to many. If you give people the information how do you know they will act, pilule with barriers such as long waiting lines on the phone and lots of information needed? Can your advisors justify the time spent waiting on hold? If you choose to complete the online form does the customer know their account number? These barriers have often meant people have missed out on the discount.
In order to overcome this Islington, seek with the invaluable help of Energy UK, pharmacy has set up a first of its kind referral system to the Big Six suppliers. We write to residents known to be disabled or on low incomes with young children and through the partnerships we can conduct initial assessments of such vulnerable households and refer those eligible to their supplier. Between November 2013 and December 2014, 2,400 vulnerable households were referred to their supplier, generating £490,000 in bill savings over the two winters. An even greater number have also been referred to their suppliers’ priority services registers. We believe that Islington Council is the only organisation in the country working with all the main suppliers to achieve this.
The SHINE Hub has also set up a similar arrangement with Thames Water, taking advantage of their WaterSure social tariffs. We refer households likely to qualify to Thames Water for assessment. This year we have referred 350 ‘water poor’ households for 50% discounts on their water bills. Both schemes will hopefully alleviate the pressure on household finances in challenging times.
Contact SHINE on 020 7527 8203 or [email protected] for more details.