Affordable Warmth Workshop 2015

British Gas Energy Trust Funded Project 2018 - 2021

WellBeing Orkney Project 2017 - 2019

Orkney’s Pipeline Partnership Approach

The Pipeline Approach is not a new concept but is new and innovative                                                                                         when applied to Affordable Warmth/Fuel Poverty.

The Problem:

The latest Scottish House Condition Survey statistics (2014) state that                                                                                currently 63% of Orkney households are fuel poor, rising to 85% for                                                                                         pension households.

Previously before our project, there had been no mechanism for collective planning and provision of support services to those in fuel poverty.

Energy efficiency programmes are often not accessible to the most vulnerable in society, either through a lack of confidence or skill levels or ill health or financial situation when a ‘client contribution’ is required. Additionally, most programmes have targeted the ‘low hanging fruit’ in urban areas of Scotland.

The Partnership Solution:

The partnership employed staff to develop and deliver a pipeline approach to tackling fuel poverty in Orkney in order that all stakeholders identify appropriate levels of support and plan the implementation of services of a client’s journey to affordable warmth.

The Pipeline Mechanism and the Beneficiaries:

Collaborating with local and national stakeholders, the project has helped to benefit fuel poor households, in particular those most vulnerable households that are historically hard to engage, by fostering a collective community responsibility to identify and refer households to Stage 1 of the Pipeline process.

THAW, the lead partner, employed 3.0 FTEs staff (manager, affordable warmth officer, administrator) to implement a case management system, to include an initial assessment process, the creation of client-specific action plans and bespoke “hand-holding” support services, which ensured that all clients received the necessary support at all stages throughout their Pipeline journey.

The staff team continuously reviewed each client’s action plan so that it was responsive to changing needs, thus avoiding slippage within the Pipeline.

Orkney CAB employed a 0.75 FTE fuel poverty support worker to provide Income maximisation support, benefit checks & applications, income & expenditure analysis, budgeting and grant applications; Information, education & behaviour changing, such as on and off-site tuition regarding fuel types & technologies and helping clients identify changes they can make in order to reduce energy consumption; Fuel cost support , such as assisting with price comparison & switching and understanding fuel bills & energy consumption.

Orkney Care & Repair also employed a 0.5 FTE technical support officer to provide a project management service for remedial / installation works carried out; Specialist knowledge to assist clients with understanding EPC, SAP & Green Deal assessments; Assessing and identifying remedial/installation works suitable to client needs & situation; Finance & grant applications; Identifying and project managing suitable contractors to carry out works; Identifying and accessing all available grants for installations in relation to energy efficiency measures, heating systems, insulation and related necessary property repairs prior to utilising the project’s installation monies of up to £3,500 per property.

THAW Orkney and its partners launched the Pipeline Approach as an Orkney-wide project. The total project award from the British Gas Energy Trust was a little under £400,000 with £175,000 allocated for installation costs of energy saving measures, property and heating repairs. In addition a further £88,750 was secured for installations from the Energy Action scotland initiative. The money was used as a ‘gap filler’ when other programme grants were exhausted, for example, when a client contribution is needed to complete an installation and the householder is unable to pay. This funding was succesfully utilised and ended in March 2017.

THAW’s primary objective is to eradicate fuel poverty within the Orkney Isles and believes it is the Pipeline Model, as a collaborating and co-ordinating model, that will best achieve this. As it is a new approach to tackling fuel poverty / affordable warmth it is intended that the project will also act as ‘proof of concept’ across all stakeholder organisations in Orkney as well as potential funders.

Affordable Warmth Project 2016 - 2017


We have secured British Gas Energy Trust funding to March 2021 and will continue to build on the momentum that THAW has developed as the focal point for community groups and statutory organisations to work collaboratively and collectively to address fuel poverty, social and financial exclusion issues.

Our aims for the project are to enable households in Orkney to have warm homes, to improve their health and wellbeing, to help them to be able to pay for their bills, to maximise income and to support with debt management and budgeting advice. 



helping to make a difference

​Working in close partnership with Orkney Islands Council and the matched funding organisations, this project enabled us to provide bespoke support services to vulnerable individuals and families from the initial contact, throughout the process, to a resolution or agreed outcome. The project helped to provide on the ground assistance to households particularly those affected by debt, low income or fuel poverty in Orkney, that can sometimes feel excluded from mainstream support services.

We assisted over 650 households in Orkney during the two-year project and worked closely with Orkney Citizens Advice Bureau to engage with particularly vulnerable groups to develop skills among people who are often financially and/or socially excluded. The aim was to allow for improvements in their abilities to manage limited budgets and gradually lead to improvements in respect of reduced rent arrears, fuel poverty and levels of debt.

We had established reciprocal referral arrangements with a number of local

agencies and organisations to provide hand holding support. Fundamental in the

approach of the whole programme was that services were equally available to all

Orkney residents. There was a strong emphasis on equalities and the inclusion of

people from all protected characteristic groups namely: age; gender; ethnic origin;

religion or belief; disability and sexual orientation. Essential in this, was addressing

the range of issues and barriers which have prevented people’s participation in

social, economic, political and cultural life. ​

THAW Orkney previously held an Affordable Warmth / Fuel Poverty workshop entitled 'Affordable Warmth: What's in the Pipeline?' in the Kirkwall Townhall on the 18th March 2015, in which many representatives of Statutory and Third Sector organisations attended.

The key note speaker was Norman Kerr, Director of Energy Action Scotland and Deputy Chair of the Scottish Government’s Fuel Poverty Forum.

From the start of this workshop, there has been overwhelming support for THAW to progress the development of the Pipeline Approach and we are now working closely with partnership organisations across Orkney, in order to achieve this goal. Please have a look at some of our links below if you would like to find out more information from the workshop.

The full workshop report can be viewed here:  affordable-warmth--whats-in-the-pipeline.pdf

The full presentations given at the workshop can also be viewed here:

Statistical Analysis - statistical-analysis.pdf
The national scene - the-national-scene.pdf
Case studies - case-studies.pdf
The pipeline approach - the-pipeline-approach.pdf