You’re an adult now and you’ve just got to get on and do this. But how many of us can say we got the advice and necessary help we needed when we started out on this journey?

  • Is this home energy efficient?
  • Will I be warm in the winter months?
  • How much should I be paying for my energy?
  • Where do I start in saving money?
  • How do I know what’s best for me

The truth is that only a small fraction of us probably did. That’s a hard swallow for the next generation who can see the effects of climate change, are being told to save the planet and take action but for some reason, not how.

At a time when young people are truly becoming independent they need all the help they can get. In Manchester, at this current time, the majority of privately renting tenants are students or young people aged under 25. Households in privately rented accommodation in the UK have fuel poverty rates that are twice the national average.

This is due to a combination of factors, such as; high private rent, low energy efficiency in houses, high rates of pre-payment meters and poor state of housing.

Young people are often expected to navigate all of this without any advice or guidance. For some, it can be even harder. The National Children’s Bureau reported that approximately 40% of households living in cold homes are couples or lone parents with dependent children, and that a quarter of households headed by 16 to 24-year-olds live in fuel poverty. It is quite clear young parents and households headed by young people are therefore disproportionately affected by living in a cold home.

But how can we expect young people to escape the cold when they’re not equipped to do so? When the Children’s Society explored in-depth fuel poverty amongst care leavers they concluded that care leavers are often not fully exposed to their energy costs as they transition to independent living and because of this, are particularly vulnerable to fuel debt.

We are expecting those who are able and those who are vulnerable to take care of themselves with limited resources and guidance. We want to tackle these issues in Manchester. Citizens Advice Manchester’s new project – ‘Switched on – Young People’s Energy Advice’ – is providing energy workshops and 1-2-1 sessions with young people in order to help them adopt sustainable living and energy efficiency, as well as the support to improve their quality of everyday life.

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