Being Warm Being Happy

The Being Warm Being Happy (BWBH) project is a mixed methods study of fuel poverty experienced by adults with a learning disability (AWLD) in England. The project intended to: 

  • Build on the existing evidence base of the negative effects of fuel poverty and cold homes on physical and mental health and wellbeing, by focusing on AWLD. 
  • Generate an understanding of why AWLD may be at risk of fuel poverty, and what intrinsic and extrinsic factors contribute to this risk. 
  • Identify how the experience of AWLD regarding fuel poverty and affordable warmth connects to wider social and health issues. 
  • Generate recommendations and messages to inform policy and practice. 

For the UK population as a whole there is a large body of evidence on the extent of fuel poverty, sometimes identified as part of a wider phenomenon of “energy vulnerability” or “energy poverty”. A principal motivation of researchers in this field is to provide evidence demonstrating how living in a cold home is associated with premature death and a wide range of mental and physical illnesses. But there is very little evidence of the nature and extent of fuel poverty in the disabled population, and virtually none at all for people with a learning disability. This is despite the fact that people with a learning disability are at a greater risk of material deprivation than the non-learning disabled population, and thus more likely to find it especially difficult to avoid living in a cold home. No research to date has examined the fuel poverty experience and influences for AWLD. 

This project was conducted to start to address this evidence gap. It is a participatory project where University academics and AWLD, from Speakup Advocacy (referred to as Speakup in the report), worked in partnership. Speakup is a voluntary sector organisation based in Rotherham South Yorkshire. 

Please find the full report here.

Being warm are on twitter @BeingWarm