Families across Scotland, England or Wales can apply to the British Gas Energy Trust for grants. The funds issued can be used to help pay bills and other energy expenses. The charity organization was created in an effort to help low income individuals, including those facing poverty. The funds can be used for paying different types of bills or for other needs, including electricity, boiler repairs or replacement, and more. The Trust is one of the leading charities in the United Kingdom.
Donations from both British Gas and the community are used to assist vulnerable individuals and families in the region. Another goal is to help people become debt free over the long term, and pay off any bills they may owe to creditors. Other expenses that can be paid with the grants include funeral expenses, bankruptcy fees or Further Assistance Payments, and energy efficiency improvements. So the programme is wide ranging in what it can do.
Uses of funds and bills to pay from British Gas Energy
There are restrictions on what a grant can be used for. They include some or all of the following. However exceptions can sometimes be made.
Electricity or gas bills – The trust was originally created in an effort to help families facing poverty pay utility type bills and keep their service on. Over the years, many families in England, Scotland, and other counties have successfully paid an overdue energy bill with a grant. Households have prevented a shut off of their power using these funds.
Funeral expenses – For those individuals in which the estate can’t pay the funeral or burial costs, a grant may be issued to help. The applicant also needs to note whether the Social Fund issued any payments to the family of the deceased.
Repair or replacement of boilers – This is only for those households that are not qualified for the ECO Scheme. Depending on the issue, the household will first receive a repair to the unit. If the boiler can’t be fixed, then the Trust may pay for a replacement.
Energy Efficient White Goods – Grants from British Gas can be used to pay for refrigerators, cookers, or even new washing machines! Proof of this hardship is needed from social worker or health visitor in your town or city. This type of assistance can also be available to those with a disability or illness in England.
Debt relief or other expenses such as Bankruptcy Deposits can be paid. The applicant needs to first meet with a professional advice worker before the Trust will even review the application.
However, the focus of any funds is always on paying fuel bills, especially for those people facing poverty. Thousands of households in the UK, including England and Scotland, will benefit from the trust each and every year.
Application process for a grant
Before applying for assistance, individuals should meet with an adviser for support on addressing their debts. This is recommended as funds are limited and the demand for a grant is very high, and the trust will need to decline many applications. The leading centres to contact for advice or an application are below.
Note that proof of hardship will be required. Applicants will need proof of income, bank statements, benefit letters, or wage slips, among other items. Benefit letters may also be accepted from State Pension or the Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
For those that qualify, the grant will always be made to the energy provider, supplying company or some other third party. Also, a family can only apply for help from the British Gas Energy Trust at most once every two years, so apply only when the need is great and there are no other options available.
To apply, or get more information, the application centres are below. Volunteers or case workers at the locations can provide information, help and support to low income families and people facing poverty.
- Bromley by Bow Centre, St Leonard’s Street, London E3 3BT, 020 8709 9737
- Dawn Advice Centre Ltd, 17 Market Place, Morpeth, Northumberland NE61 1HG, Telephone – 0300 303 1931
- Edinburgh Shelter, Scotiabank House, 6 South Charlotte Street, Edinburgh EH2 4AW. Telephone for grant application is 0344 515 2404.
- Energy Project Plus, Wirral Environment Centre, Falkland Road, Wallasey, CH44 8ER, 0151 639 9849
- Local Solutions (Of Merseyside and also Liverpool). The centre is at Mount Vernon Green, Hall Lane, Liverpool L7 8TF, Manchester CAB, dial 0800 988 2655
- Money Matters Money Advice Centre, Orkney Street Enterprise Centre, 18-20 Orkney Street, Glasgow. G51 2BX, 0141 445 5221. Other information on electricity bill schemes may be provided as well.
- Plymouth Energy Community (PEC), Floor 8 (Plymouth City Council offices), Civic Centre, Plymouth, PL1 2AA, telephone 01752 477117
- Preston CAB, Town Hall Annexe, Birley St, Preston PR1 2QE, telephone 01772 254407
- Riverside Advice, 41a Lower Cathedral Road, Riverside, Cardiff. CF11 6LW, Tel: 029 2034 1577
- Shelter Dumfries, 95 Irish Street, Dumfries DG1 2NP, main telephone 0344 515 2390
- Shelter Birmingham, Gateway House, 50-53 High Street, Birmingham B4 7SY. Call 0344 515 1800 for applications.
- Shelter in Norwich, Whitefriars House, 50 Fishergate, Norwich NR3 1SE. Call 0344 515 1860 for information on the grants application process.
- Speakeasy Advice Centre address is 166 Richmond Rd, Cardiff, CF24 3BX, Tel: 029 2045 3111
- St Ann’s Advice Group, The Neighbourhood Centre, Robin Hood Chase, Nottingham NG3 4EZ, 0115 908 1532
- St Helens CAB, Millennium Centre, Corporation Street, St Helens WA10 1HJ, T: 01744 751 380
- Talking Money, 1 Hide Market, West St, St Philips, Bristol BS2 0BH. Call a case worker at 0117 954 3990 for information on the trust.
- Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan Trust, 12 Bishop Street, Leicester, LE1 6AF. Telephone is 0116 251 9068