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Cadent Gas came to Mental Health Innovations looking to offer mental health support to their most vulnerable customers. They were seeing a rise in need from customers contacting them who were unable to fix broken boilers or pay bills, whose wellbeing was suffering as a result.

Cadent commissioned a keyword, ‘Warmth’, for customers to use to access the Shout text messaging support service. We spoke to Technical Manager Sam Graham about the partnership.


What led you to partner with Mental Health Innovations?

It is our responsibility as a distribution network and customer facing company to offer support to our customers and colleagues who have vulnerabilities.

In England, on average one in four adults are experiencing a mental illness. Cadent’s mission as an organisation is to keep people safe, warm, and connected in their homes, and with over 11 million customers households in our network, we must protect our customers' safety, both physically and mentally.

Who makes up Cadent’s audience?

As the UK’s largest gas distributor, we have a vast audience with varying levels of vulnerabilities and requirements for support services. Our gas engineers enter the homes of thousands of people every day, many of whom have vulnerabilities that our frontline workers are trained to spot and offer support through our partners and services.

We care about the safety, accessibility to warmth, and wellbeing of all our customers and colleagues. Everyone could be considered vulnerable, and we have structures in place to protect our people at differing stages, including our Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA) projects that are focused on supporting customer needs and household safety; the Cadent Foundation who help households find sustainable solutions to fuel poverty; and the Priority Services Register (PSR), which helps those who have extra communication, access or safety needs to gain equal access to services.

How has your audience been affected by the cost-of-living crisis?

According to National Energy Action, 6.3 million people are currently living in fuel poverty. Since the cost-of-living crisis, we know many people who have been on the cusp of ‘getting by’ are now falling into poverty, unable to afford basics such as food and utilities.

Our engineers operate across some of the most deprived areas of the country and unfortunately visit vulnerable customers too often. Therefore, it is our responsibility to provide support, advice, and practical measures to help elevate the stresses that come with this crisis.

We have developed a vulnerability strategy with a suite of commitments in four key priority areas: identifying customer need, carbon monoxide awareness, tackling affordability and fuel poverty, and going beyond to never leave a vulnerable customer without gas. All projects and partners we work with go towards making a positive difference to our customers' lives and ensuring they are safe and warm in their homes.

What are the benefits of offering your customers Shout?

Cadent’s gas engineers visit homes and regularly come into direct contact with individuals who may be vulnerable, so they can directly hand them details of their Shout keyword.

Services like Shout can act as a lifeline to a person experiencing difficulties with their mental health. Shout’s text message support offers our customers and colleagues who would not normally be comfortable speaking with a mental health advisor a way to seek help via an anonymous service.

We want to provide our customers and colleagues with as many options as possible and it’s important that we give people in crisis the ability to ask for support in a way that is most comfortable to them.

Where some individuals may be comfortable speaking to a support service over the phone or in person, calling a support service personally can be intimidating to someone in crisis and we know this may not be suitable for everyone. Providing the option to anonymously text Shout for support can take away that fear and allow them to accept the help they need.

Partnerships help to support every aspect of our work, from vital funding for our text support service Shout to supporting the development of new projects to improve the mental health of the UK. They also play a key role in helping us to reach more people, raise awareness, amplify our messages and create a positive impact on the mental wellbeing of people across the UK.

Our team is here to work with you to engage employees, generate shared value and demonstrate results throughout the lifetime of our partnership. We’d love to hear from you if this is of interest.

Get in touch

Please reach out to discuss partnership opportunities with us.