Advice team saves £8m for residents

Hanover's Be Wise service has celebrated  its fifth year of operation.
Hanover's Be Wise service has celebrated its fifth year of operation.

A retirement housing provider which has helped its residents claim back an impressive £8.2m through its financial rights and energy advice service has celebrated its fifth year of operation.

Hanover, which manages Hanover Grange and Portland Place in Bridlington, launched its Be Wise services in the autumn of 2012, providing practical assistance to over 2,500 older people living in the organisation’s retirement and extra care estates across England in the last five years.

To do this, the specialist team provides free and confidential advice on how best to save money on energy bills, helps secure essential adaptations to households.

In one case, the Financial Rights team managed to increase entitlement by £110 per week for a couple living in Yorkshire, whilst in another case Hanover’s Energy Advisor identified a transposed meter and managed to help reclaim £1,800 for a resident.

Dame Clare Tickell, chief executive of Hanover, said: ‘To be able to help residents to the tune of an incredible £8.2 million in entitlements that they would not otherwise have got in just five years is a fantastic achievement, especially coming at a time when many older people are facing greater hardship and poverty because of prices rising well above inflation.

We know from speaking with residents that many often struggle on very little income and at times can’t afford even the most basic of necessities. Many also feel inhibited about claiming benefits and are uncomfortable sharing their personal information with external agencies.

“Because of this reluctance, we have worked hard to explain that there is financial and in-kind support available to them as entitlements and the Be Wise team is helping make sure they are receiving the right type of advice about what is available to them.

‘That is why we launched our Be Wise service – it’s a wonderful example of what housing associations can do to be more than just providers of bricks and mortar.”