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NEW grants of up to £10,000 are being offered to community groups across Britain to help spread understanding about the introduction of energy smart meters.
A major fund has been launched which offers the cash to non-profit organisations which can help explain the smart meter rollout to vulnerable and difficult to reach groups. Every home in the country is to be offered a smart meter free of charge by 2020. They tell customer exactly how much gas and electricity they are using, in pounds and pence.
Smart Energy GB is responsible for helping everyone in Britain to understand the smart meter rollout and how they can help reduce bills.
Now it has announced the launch of its "communities fund", open to not-for-profit organisations that can reach people who may face barriers, including non-English speakers and those with learning disabilities, profound deafness, low literacy or memory impairment.
Other difficult to reach groups are those with poor digital skills or with no internet access, off-grid gas customers, prepay customers, private tenants or those in social housing.
Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive of Smart Energy GB, said: "One of the biggest and most important challenges we face is reaching people who may not hear about smart meters through traditional routes, or who might need additional support to understand how they could benefit.
"These are often the people who will experience the most profound transformation in how their smart meters could help them get their gas and electricity under control.”
The fund is part of the Smart Energy GB in Communities programme, which is being delivered by a consortium of charities - National Energy Action and Energy Action Scotland, Media Trust, and Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).
CAF, which has 45 years’ experience in designing and delivering strategic grant-making programmes, will manage the fund.
David Stead, Director of Philanthropy at CAF, said: “Improving people’s lives is what charities do best. This fund provides a real opportunity for charities to make a difference by ensuring that no one gets left behind in reaping the advantages of the smart meter rollout.”
Grants up to £10,000 are available for community organisations who will work with priority groups on projects to be completed in 2016.
From June grants of £10,000 to £25,000 will be available for regional organisations to help reach priority groups.