Healthy Homes for Wellbeing adviser Tara Bowers was named a national Heat Hero earlier this year - now she's helping people through the COVID pandemic. Credit: Exeter Community Energy.

Exeter based eco-business provides support during COVID-19 crisis

Healthy Homes for Wellbeing is a local team of advisers helping people manage household bills when times are tough.

Exeter Community Energy (ECOE) is helping the vulnerable through the pandemic, dealing with missing food boxes, broken boilers, and emotional difficulties. As the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed huge changes on our day-to-day lives, including lockdown for many ECOE has adapted its Healthy Homes for Wellbeing to help. It has replaced the home visits and drop-in sessions it used to do with telephone calls direct to those in need of assistance.  Now, more than ever, the service is focussing on helping those who are struggling to pay their bills or experiencing more general difficulties with day-to-day living. 

  • An example of how Healthy Homes for Wellbeing has played this trusted role in recent weeks is Mr and Mrs P, who were referred to the team by the RD&E.  The team called to check if they needed any support.   They told us their government food box deliveries had stopped for no apparent reason, and that they still needed them.  Healthy Homes investigated and found that the deliveries had been cancelled in error and arranged for the deliveries to be reinstated.
  • Mrs M suffers from chronic illness and therefore falls into the government’s shielded group.  She was bereaved a year ago and has been coping well but her activities have been curtailed since the lockdown and she is feeling the bereavement all over again.   A weekly telephone call from a Healthy Homes advisor is helping her cope a little better.
  • Miss F was referred by Age UK Exeter when her boiler broke down.   As she receives benefits she was eligible to be referred to a specific scheme that provided her with a replacement boiler, free of charge.

ECOE set up Healthy Homes in 2017 specifically to assist those on low incomes.  Gill Wyatt, Director, explains, "Healthy Homes for Wellbeing has assisted hundreds of people across East and Mid-Devon, Teignbridge and Torbay in recent times, helping people to reduce their energy bills and manage their finances.  The support of Exeter City Council and Western Power Distribution has been invaluable in enabling us to provide free, professional advice and make a real difference to people with financial difficulties." 

New Services from Healthy Homes for Wellbeing – TAILORED TO HELP DURING THE COVID-19 LOCKDOWN

Telephone and email support for vulnerable and isolated residents to help with:
- Energy advice
- Billing issues and tariff comparisons
- Signposting to other local community services supporting the current situation

Emergency support for those with urgent energy or billing issues, and increasing the efficiency of energy and heating systems in the home.  In some cases this might mean a home visit, with careful attention to the government’s COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Assistance with delivering food, medicines and other essential goods.

Telephone support to those isolated, to help them feel supported and less alone.

For more information go to 

For more details or to request a one-to-one telephone conversation, call 0800 772 3617, go to, or email

To make an application or referral, go to

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