Live talk available at the below date and time. The Electrical Industries Charity presents a wellbeing series of inspirational speakers and leading experts in mental health, law, and reliance. The series is uplifting and educational on a range of issues impacting our industry. Format of the series will be a 50-minute virtual presentation followed by 10 minutes of questions and answers facilitated by the Charity CEO, Tessa Ogle.
Since retiring from the forces, Colin MacLachlan has provided high-level security to the likes of the Saudi Royal Family, was named a Sunday Times Bestseller, and found recent fame on the hit show, SAS: Who Dares Wins.
Colin’s talk will focus on his service experience, as well as his expertise in leadership, teamwork, risk management and more. He specialises in mental resilience and emotional health. You will come away empowered, armed with a toolbox of skills for overcoming adversity in both their professional and personal lives.
During his time in the military, he participated in an exchange programme with Delta Force and Seal Team 6, and while being held hostage, was filmed for terrorist propaganda - Colin has shown consistent courage in the face of danger. Most recently, he appeared on the Channel 4 show SAS: Who Dares Wins, to put his 25 years of military experience to the test. The Sunday Times Bestseller has also retold his story through popular books, including 'The Pilgrim' and 'SAS: Who Dares Wins: Leadership Secrets from the Special Forces'.
Colin was formerly a Sergeant Major in the 1st Battalion of The Royal Scots and a Special Forces Commander in the 22 SAS regiment. First joining the army in 1989, he put himself through gruelling training and passed selection into 22 SAS when he was just 23 years old. Since leaving the forces, Colin has continued his journey of protecting civilians - becoming the owner of Blade, his own security company. With his lifelong commitment to safety, he can discuss change and risk management when booked for events.
Upon joining the armed forces, Colin was the first sniper on the scene of a hijacked plane with 180 people on board, and hunted down guerrilla gang, The West Side Boys, who were holding British soldiers hostage in a mission titled ‘Operation Certain Death’. Such experiences make Colin an insightful addition to corporate events, as he can translate the lessons he learnt to a working environment, including tactics for strong mental resilience.
Other prominent roles of Colin’s include being a Security Consultant for Pilgrims Group, a Project Manager for Edinburgh Cyrenians, ALTOR Risk Group and the Stirling Group. He has also been the Principal Security Advisor for SCC Global, a motion capture artist for Rockstar North and a Private Wealth Management Analyst for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. Outside of work, Colin is a passionate Ambassador for the Lee Rigby Foundation, NSPCC and Pilgrim Bandits.
While we have enjoyed the warmth of the festive period surrounded by family and friends as we come into January and the colder winter months a lot of our minds are turning to paying the fuel bills over the coming months. With energy price hikes and more of us working from home than ever before it is more than likely we will all feel the pinch of our energy bills. This January the EIC want to help our industry colleagues stay warm this winter. The average annual cost of heating and hot water in the UK is £776 per year and if you use gas heating it is roughly £550 yearly. This can be a huge expense and with the soaring gas prices this is only likely to increase this year. The cost of keeping warm can be enormous and if you are in financial difficulty or vulnerable the thought of fuelling your home can be daunting.
The definition of fuel poverty states that a household is said to be in fuel poverty if:
They have required fuel costs that are above average (the national median level), and were they to spend that amount they would be left with a residual income below the official poverty line.
The key factors that can contribute to fuel poverty are:
The number of households experiencing fuel poverty is rising at the moment for several reasons:
The figure for England show that in 2017, the number of households in fuel poverty was estimated at 2.53 million, representing approximately 10.9% of all English households. Since, it is estimated 13% of households in England are fuel poor while 25% in Scotland, 12% in Wales and 18% in Northern Ireland are also living in fuel poverty. There is significant regional variation; within England, the most affected areas are the North East, North West, West Midlands, and Yorkshire and Humberside, whilst the least affected are London, the Home Counties and Eastern England, generally tracking regional income levels.
Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of cold weather. This includes:
In 2020/21 the Electrical Industries Charity have supported thousands of sector colleagues who fall into these categories. Often those who are most vulnerable have the least disposable income meaning price hikes and unexpected energy bills can really hit hard.
The connection between fuel poverty and health is based upon the impact of living in cold, damp homes. Those who are fuel poor are more likely to turn their heating down below the level adequate for their wellbeing and are more likely to live in energy inefficient homes, which are poorly insulated and prone to dampness.
Fuel poverty, through living in a cold and damp home, is a clear contributory factor in health issues such as respiratory diseases, heart diseases, circulatory diseases, and mental health problems. It also contributes towards increased winter deaths, repeat visits to GPs and admissions to hospitals.
Mental health issues increase by 50% in cases where people are living in a home under the desired temperature of 21 degrees.
The risk of experiencing severe ill health or disability during childhood and early adulthood is increased by 25% if an individual lives in poor quality housing.
34,300 - PREVENTABLE EXCESS WINTER DEATHS 2016/17
30% - DEATHS LINKED TO COLD HOMES ACROSS THE UK
£22 billion - NHS TREATMENT & COLD RELATED ADMISSIONS
100,000 - PREMATURE EWD EXPECTED OVER THE NEXT 15 YEARS
Follow these tips to keep you and your family warm and well at home:
If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, there are lots of different companies supplying energy so you can choose to buy your gas and electricity from those that offer you the best deal. The Citizens Advice website has information about energy
Understand your statement and read your meters
A better understanding of the information provided on your statement could help you identify and solve problems at an early stage. The Citizens Advice website has a helpful online tool: Understanding your energy bill, which explains how and where to find the most useful information on the statements of each of the 'Big Six' energy suppliers. (NB: Make sure you look at the information on the website for the country of the UK.) Bills are often estimated, so reading your meter and passing the reading on to your supplier will make sure you only pay for what you have used. The Citizens Advice website has information on how to read your energy meter (NB: Make sure you look at the information on the website for the country of the UK you live in by selecting it from the drop down box on the page).
Take steps to cut your energy use
You only pay for the electricity and gas that you actually use, so a good way for us to cope with rising prices is to try to use energy efficiently:
1. Cut your bills by turning the thermostat on your heating down by one degree and heating your home for one less hour a day.
2. Stop heat escaping by sealing skirting boards, using draft excluders in front of doors and letterboxes and drawing your curtains after dark. Double-glazing reduces the heat loss through windows by 50%
3. Save electricity by turning appliances off rather than leaving them on standby, unplug chargers and switch lights off when not in use
4. Do not over fill kettles and always put lids on saucepans when cooking
5. Only run washing machines, driers and dishwashers with a full load and use lower temperature settings. Driers use lots of electricity, so drying washing on a line will help cut bills
6. Switch to low energy light bulbs. They cost a bit more but last 12 times longer and help cut your electricity bills
7. Insulating your loft and cavity walls, installing an energy efficient boiler and switching to low energy appliances will all help cut costs.
As we come into January, with the warmth of the festive season behind us and the coldest winter months ahead, our minds are no doubt turning to our fuel bills. With more of us working from home, and energy price hikes across the board, it’s likely we’ll all be feeling the pinch over the coming months. This winter, the EIC wants to help our industry colleagues stay warm.
25.9% of people now work from home with electricity consumption in the UK rising by around £70 a month on average. It’s estimated that already 13% of households are living in fuel poverty in England with 25% in Scotland, 12% in Wales and 18% in Northern Ireland. Add skyrocketing energy prices from suppliers and the cost of staying warm can be daunting, especially to those vulnerable or already in financial difficulty. This was especially true for James, who lived with his mum Kathy and was in the first year of his apprenticeship. Recovering from debilitating chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer, Kathy was a single parent with little financial resource. As a result of her illness and treatment, she’d taken early retirement and received only a small pension. The next five years were crucial to her health outcome.
James was carer to his mum and the main breadwinner in the house. His salary paid household bills and the cost of his apprenticeship equipment. To help with rent and expenses, he worked a night job, but was exhausted. His mental health was deteriorating from lack of sleep and the potential of failing at his apprenticeship. Trying to hold it together for his mum caused James deep anxiety. Around this time, James contacted the EIC for mental health support. He engaged with his therapist well, and after twelve CBT sessions, he felt better able to cope with supporting his mum. The EIC helped him to apply for the first Apprenticeship Bursary, and he was granted emergency financial support for the broken boiler at home. Having a long-term health condition, Kathy was particularly vulnerable to the effects of cold weather. Other vulnerable groups include people over the age of 65, children under 5, pregnant women, and those with disabilities and mental health conditions.
Can You Help Someone Stay Warm this Winter?
The Apprenticeship Bursary programme is for instances just like James’s. We want our young apprentices to get the support they need when they need it. The help James accessed was due to the EIC and the powerLottery. Through us, James got the financial and medical support required to keep his mum warm and get back on his feet. Without powerLottery, EIC wouldn’t be able to support people like James. That’s why we need you to become a powerLottery player – to help EIC continue supporting our industry members.
powerLottery is the only lottery made for our industry by our industry. It gives players 40 chances to win cash prizes ranging from £50 to £1,000 every single month. A £10,000 draw bi-yearly gives you even more opportunity to win BIG. A new car, a holiday in the sun, a kitchen re-fit or a brand-new wardrobe… Think of all the different ways you could spend £10,000.
To sign up to play the powerLottery, click here: https://www.electricalcharity.org/lottery
25.9% of people now work from home and 46.4% of those who normally be employed in London have worked from home at some point over 2020/21 period. While working from home may mean you are saving on commuting expenses whether that be petrol, train services or bus it is likely your energy bills have increased. In the UK electricity consumption has risen by 15%. A survey of 2000 people who worked from home saw their energy bills rise by £70 a month on average. Couple this increase with already skyrocketing energy costs working from home can prove to be expensive.
If you began to work from home due to the pandemic you can claim some tax relief here:
Do you want to cut your home’s carbon footprint, what are your options?
Starting with insulation is the best bet. You can pay about £50 for an energy performance assessor to identify the insulation options suitable for your home (the government has a list of accredited assessors ). And Energy Savings Trust produces independent advice on your options.
I’ve done a lot of insulation on my house. Good quality windows and doors have made a big difference. But with solid walls (i.e, those that don’t contain cavity walls) heat still pours out. The house is small, and I didn’t want to lose any more space through internal wall insulation. Living mid-terrace made external-wall insulation impractical. So, I resorted to 1 cm-thick thermal wallpaper which certainly made a difference to our comfort levels. This is an area currently attracting a lot of innovative solutions, such as insulating paints and high-tech plaster.
When it comes to paying for insulation, the government obliges energy companies to help householders fit insulation under a scheme called the Energy Company Obligation. Money for this has been cut in recent years and the programme is now targeted at low income and vulnerable households, but there are still government-led grants available in Wales , Northern Ireland and Scotland .
Pros: Insulation will cut energy bills, but big investments such as high-quality windows, doors, or external-wall insulation will take many years to pay back – decades in some cases. If you can afford it, the added comfort is worth it in my view.
Cons: Apart from the upfront cost, the biggest obstacle is disruption and mess. One way of minimising this for internal-wall insulation is to do it room by room when decorating.
Smart heating controls enable you to easily manage your heating. You can even do it from your phone or computer when you're away from home. Smart controls can automatically adjust the heating according to the weather and to whether or not you're at home.
A study on the NEST smart heating controller suggested a minimum saving of around 5% in gas consumption, even for homes that already have heating controls such as radiator valves and a programmer. You can also get individual room controls, which would save more energy.
These should all, in theory, pay for themselves within around 5 years, and the cost range is about £200-250.
Make sure you read up-to-date reviews of different smart heating control options, as there's currently a lot of innovation in this area: it's a fast-moving and competitive market with new options emerging all the time.
Pros: Smart heating controls will pay back fast (within 5 years).
Cons: Can't think of any.
Different heating options
There is a range of options for home heating and they all have pros and cons. Some are more suitable for some homes than others. Annoyingly the choice isn’t straightforward.
A heat pump is basically the same as a fridge in reverse. Rather than making the inside colder and transferring the heat outside it does the opposite – it extracts heat from the environment outside the house and pumps it into the house. Roughly speaking, for every unit of electricity you use, it will provide 3 units of heat. It's therefore by far the most efficient form of heating there is.
Remarkably it does this even when it’s freezing outside – in fact, heat pumps are now the most fitted heating device in chilly Sweden.
There are 4 types of heat pump:
Costs of heat pumps
Heat pumps will give you an impressive 50-60% reduction in your greenhouse gas pollution footprint, and they shouldn’t increase your energy bill. In fact, if you live in an off-grid property currently powered by oil or LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) and you switch to a heat pump, the greenhouse gas pollution saving will be greater because oil and LNG are particularly polluting fuels.
But they do come with an upfront cost, including installation. As a rule of thumb, a heat pump is expected to cost around £10,000 to buy and install, depending on what work may need to be done. The cost of my air-source heat pump was £11, 392.50, which included fitting a hot water tank for baths, showers etc.
A government grant is available to cover some of the cost, though not for air-air heat pumps. The amount of grant will vary by technology and how efficiently it will operate in your home but is likely to cover at least half the cost. Friends of the Earth has joined more than 20 organisations from construction, energy and civil society sectors in calling for government to pay the full cost for poorer households, among other measures. You need to use an accredited installer to get the grant – they’ll be able to give you an estimate once they've inspected your property.
Pros: Heat pumps are a very efficient way of providing heating, using roughly 1 unit of electricity to produce 3 units of heat; they are also eligible for a government grant.
Cons: Heat pumps do involve some disruption to your house, eg pipework, and some systems will need bigger radiators. You'll need to be happy with a heat pump outside your house making some noise, although it’s only about as loud as a fridge, and will be working hardest in winter when you are less likely to be outside.
You may be able to claim financial and practical help with heating your home. Grants available include the Winter Fuel Payment and the Cold Weather Payment. For more information on how to reduce your bills and make your home more energy efficient, go to the government's Simple Energy Advice website, or call the Simple Energy Advice helpline on 0800 444 202.
You can also find out about heating and housing benefits on GOV.UK. It's worth claiming all the benefits you're entitled to as soon as winter begins.
This benefits calculator helps you to understand if you are entitled for additional support:
One of the keys to a better version of you, mentally and physically, is sleeping well. We want all of our industry members to sleep as well as they can that’s why EIC have partnered with Sleepstation. Sleepstation is a clinically validated sleep improvement programme that can help you learn how to control and optimise your sleep to get the best sleep possible. Designed by experts and backed by science, the online service is proven to combat even the most severe insomnia. Their team will help you identify the underlying causes of your sleep problem and provide the personal support and guidance needed to improve your sleep. Sleepstation delivers remote care with a personal touch and that's what makes it so effective. Therapeutic support through Sleepstation is available to those in need and meeting our charity eligibility criteria.