UK’s growing demand for energy support: Launching our latest Fuel Poverty Report

Fuel Poverty Report Launch

As the UK’s leading relational mentoring social enterprise, every year we meaningfully support over 85,000 households to break the cycle of poverty at home, at work, and in the community. In this report, we have brought together insight from the millions of meaningful interactions made by our hundreds of professional mentors across the UK, forming clear recommendations to transform lives and create sustainable change.

Comparing this winter to last, we found that sustained hardship resulted in poorer mental and physical health, with families with children becoming more likely to visit foodbanks compared to last year. There is also a growing demand for mentoring support, with households much more likely (65%) to desire support in addition to financial assistance compared to last year (24%).

Among those eligible for fuel vouchers, the report found that:

  • Over 75% of people on prepayment meters said their physical health had been impacted by the cost-of-living Crisis or preferred not to say
  • 30% of families in work had visited a foodbank
  • 82% of people with a disability say their health has deteriorated as a result of high energy prices 81% of single parents said their health had been impacted by the cost-of-living crisis or preferred not to say

As part of the research, researchers at the Wise Group spoke to nearly 150 people being supported through the Wise Group’s relational mentoring approach. Annita is a 97-year-old Wise Group customer who we recently started supporting. She lives alone and was unable to manage her energy bills as prices remained high. Annita was unable to take energy readings in her home due to the inconvenient location of her meter, with her energy debt ballooning to £1800 in six months.

Her mentor said, “Annita has never experienced debt in her whole life. I’m surprised she survived that experience.”

Through the relational mentoring approach, Annita’s mentor has been able to help turn this situation around. An interpreter who supports Annita said, “Annita’s mentor has been brilliant; he’s restored my faith in the world to a degree.”

The report, building upon the findings of a report released by the Wise Group – A Way to Work – made several recommendations. These included:

  • A Fair Debt Consolidation and Repayment System
  • Integrated Home Energy, Health and Employment Support
  • Dedicated and Impactful Mentoring Support for all Households in Need
  • An Equitable Model for Energy Prices

For more, click here to read our latest Wise Group Insight and Impact report – Fuel Poverty in the UK Tracker 2024