2 minute read

Local charity lit up with positive energy

Local charity member Crawley Open House has been under more pressure than ever due to the “everyone in” initiative, which aims to provide emergency shelter for rough sleepers during the pandemic.

This meant that it was all hands-on deck to support vulnerable individuals, some of whom were being placed into the borough by other local authorities.

Support from a local business

When Gatwick Diamond Business member Control Energy Costs was looking to support a charity, all their employees were in favour of choosing a local, independent grassroots charity.

When Phil Ager, Managing Director at Control Energy Costs, then met Ian Wilkins, the fundraising and relationships manager of Crawley Open House, at a gdb networking event it was a serendipitous moment!

Control Energy Costs proposed that a different approach by paying Crawley Open House’s energy bills in their entirety for their hostel and day centre for local homeless people.

Phil Ager commented “Having somewhere to sleep is something so many of us take for granted. As a business, we wanted us to help in a tangible way and the idea of managing and paying their energy bills seemed like the perfect way for us to do this.”

This support has enabled Crawley Open House to offer more to their community, even with “everyone in”. Here’s what they have been doing over the past year.

Wrap around support for the homeless

Crawley Open House has provided food parcels, counselling and conversations about health and additional support needs. Being able to have these discussions in a safe, secure environment has been invaluable (previously they would have taken place in a doorway or on a street corner).

Food banks

They are the main food bank point of contact for Crawley residents and have seen a 50% increase in food parcel distribution. Unfortunately, they have also seen a decrease in donations as the main donation collection points - schools, churches, community centres and businesses – were closed.

New rooms for homeless people

Crawley Open House has also been able to create eight new rooms, which offer 6 to 18 month placements for the homeless.

To help with the challenges of lockdown, hostel residents have been given tablets with Wi-Fi access so they can watch films, speak to friends and family and have a safe form of entertainment.

Ian Wilkins commented: “We are an independent local charity, and so grateful to Phil and the team at Control Energy Costs for their expertise and generosity. The money we save from not having to worry about our utility bills goes straight into our front-line work amongst the homeless and vulnerable of the area. It is also a tangible example of the important connections which gdb events facilitate, so massive thanks to all at gdb as well for enabling this to happen.”

To date, Control Energy Costs has donated £11,595. If you would like to support the work of Crawley Open House, you can donate on their website.