Vulnerable customers in Rhondda Cynon Taff are set to benefit from fuel poverty grants this winter, awarded to local charities and community groups by National Grid’s Community Matters Fund.


The latest round of Community Matters funding will see a record £2.5 million shared among grassroots organisations committed to tackling fuel poverty, including Rhondda-based Champions for Ynyshir which has been awarded £9,500 to provide daily activities in a warm space for the local community.


Darren Macey, Trustee of Champions for Ynyshir commented: “Living in a cold home and being fuel poor can contribute to adverse physical and mental health. The grant from the Community Matters Fund means that we can support our community over what will prove to be our most difficult winter in more than 50 years. By providing a safe, warm and comfortable social space we can combat some of the most corrosive challenges facing our community.”


Another local group to benefit is Valleys Kids which will receive £9,935, enabling staff to gain City and Guilds qualifications in Energy Awareness and then establish weekly warm hubs for the community.


Elise Stewart from Valleys Kids commented “We are very grateful to be receiving a grant from National Grid Energy Distribution to support our work with people in our communities this winter. These funds will allow our staff to attend training to offer qualified advice about energy usage and enable us to establish welcoming places at our centres for members of the community to come and be warm and safe. Many people in Rhondda Cynon Taff are deeply concerned about energy costs and heating their homes over coming months and this project will offer them valued places to access support.”


The latest round of Community Matters funding was launched by National Grid’s electricity distribution business as an urgent response to the national cost of living crisis, which is putting millions of households at risk of fuel poverty.


Alison Sleightholm, Regulation and Corporate Director at National Grid, said: “Tackling fuel poverty is an immediate and pressing priority for us. This year, we’re giving away a record amount to support our most vulnerable. We’re pleased to see the first community organisations, charities and local authorities being awarded their grants. Our multimillion-pound fund is supporting a wide range of worthwhile and ambitious projects which will benefit communities this winter and help families keep homes warm.”


In all, around 300 grassroots organisations will benefit from the latest round of funding across the Midlands, South West and South Wales. Earlier this year, more than 100 local groups received crucial fuel poverty grants after making successful applications to the fund. This time, applicants will also have access to a range of free training and energy efficiency advice materials which they can customise and share with their communities, to support planned or existing projects.


The Community Matters Fund is part of National Grid’s distribution Business Plan pledge to support vulnerable customers. This includes a commitment to support 113,000 customers to make energy savings of £60 million over five years and to extend the reach of its Priority Services Register, which provides tailored support to vulnerable customers.