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Council says city centre service will help on Christmas cost of living concerns

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A popular Swansea city service has announced a programme of pre-Christmas events to help people handle their cost of living concerns.

The Switched On energy awareness hub – just formally opened in High Street– offers free advice and guidance on keeping fuel bills as low as possible.

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Its new programme of special activities puts a close focus on topics such as green gifts, DIY draft excluders, low-cost festive crafts, fuel payment support and grants for home energy efficiency projects.

The service is funded by Swansea Council and operated by the Environment Centre Swansea. Its new High Street base was formally launched on November 17.

Andrea Lewis, the council’s joint deputy leader and cabinet member for service transformation, said: “It was great to attend the formal launch of Switched On’s High Street base.

“It’s an accessible and convenient location for people of all backgrounds to seek advice on how they can cope with the cost of living crisis.

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“The service’s special activity will be welcome in the run-up to Christmas, always an expensive time of year for families.”

Forthcoming activity by Switched On includes:

Nov 24, 1-3pm -Upcycled draft excluder making. A free drop-in session at Switched On. A practical session where visitors can make their own draught excluder from upcycled material.

Dec 15, 1-3pm -Make it Sparkle. A free drop-in session at Switched On. A practical session where visitors can make their own festive crafts, decorations or gifts from upcycled material.

Dec 17, 9am-3pm -Open Day. A free drop-in session at Switched On. Visitors can find out about fuel payment support and grants available for home energy efficiency improvements.

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Switched On is now open at: Swansea Community Workshops, 208 High Street, every Thursday and Friday from 10am-4pm.

It offers face-to-face discussions for those concerned about their energy bills, with support and information available for fuel payment schemes, energy efficiency improvement grants and general home energy use. 

The service first operated in the city centre’s Nelson Street in the first half of this year.

It has an ongoing programme of community visits that regularly takes practical tips to easily accessible venues in Swansea neighbourhoods.

The community outreach sessions are being held in venues such as Gorseinon Library, Townhill’s Phoenix Centre, Morriston Library, Clydach Library and Penlan Foodbank in the South Penlan Community Centre.

The service will help the city become net zero carbon by 2050, a target to which the council is already working.

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Rhian Corcoran, manager of Environment Centre Swansea, said: “People concerned about the costs of fuel have been visiting our city centre hub or community events – or have been looking for advice on our web pages.

“Many will be reassured that this services will continue and has a highly visible new presence at the heart of the city centre.”

The service’s guidance is backed by a network of experts and it can help whoever needs assistance.

Swansea Energy Awareness Hub partners and supporters have included energy network operator National Grid Electricity Distribution, the National Energy Agency, fuel poverty specialist Warm Wales, council departments, youth charity Swansea MAD, EON Energy, City Energy and Yes Energy Solutions.

Energy advice includes:

– It costs less to set your heating to come on just when you need it – and just in the rooms you’re using, rather than keeping it on low all day.

– Gas is still cheaper than standard rate electricity, so if you have gas central heating it’s generally advisable to use this instead of individual electric heaters. The exception may be if you only want to heat a small area of a room for less than a few hours.

– Keep a gap between your radiators and furniture, make sure curtains aren’t hanging in front of radiators and remove radiator covers to get the most heat. Bleeding radiators to remove cold spots will also help them to work effectively.

Source: Energy Saving Trust

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(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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