SSEN working in a cross-sector partnership to support young carers

Young carers in the south and south east of England will be helped to stay warm and safe at home, thanks to a new partnership between Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), a leading charity and water utilities in the region.

SSEN has teamed up with fuel poverty charity National Energy Action and water companies, Wessex Water, the Thames Water Trust, South East Water and Bournemouth Water to run a series of workshops for young carers to help them become more efficient and safer in their use of energy and water.

The life of a young carer is incredibly challenging. Each day they are faced with juggling caring responsibilities, school and household tasks, forced to grow up early and often missing out on opportunities because of their responsibilities. As well as practical and physical tasks, such as cooking, housework, or helping someone get out of bed, many young carers are also responsible for managing the family budget and bills. 

The project aims to make learning about water and energy for young carers and their families enjoyable, educational and challenging – with activities to help improve their confidence, develop new skills and cope with day-to-day issues.

The participating utilities are seeking to raise awareness among young carers of the Priority Services Register, which provides extra support to those that need it, if they are without power or water. They are collaborating to ensure that if a young carer signs up to the Priority Register, with their permission their details can be shared with their water utility, electricity supplier and gas transporter.

Alison Dean, Stakeholder Engagement Manager at SSEN said:

“We are delighted to be collaborating with water utilities across our region and National Energy Action to ensure young carers get more support. The workshops being offered will be informative and fun, to give young carers more knowledge and confidence in how they can help manage the bills and how we can offer extra support if they are without power or water.”

The project has been welcomed by Carers Trust, a leading UK charity providing information, advice and support to carers across the UK. Head of Policy at Carers Trust, Laura Bennett, said:

“We know from our own research that young carers are more likely to experience stress and anxiety than their peers because of the daily pressures of their caring role. Many of them also have to manage household utility bills, adding to the stress they already feel. So, we welcome this important initiative that will play an important part in helping young carers understand how they can use water and energy as efficiently as they can, hopefully reducing their anxiety about this crucial household expense.”