Case study | Doncaster Deaf Trust

Doncaster Deaf Trust: A National Centre of Excellence logo
Keeping vulnerable households warm through winter with Doncaster Deaf Trust. At a glance: 
High volumes of energy vouchers quickly and easily delivered within a day, directly to families.
Online procurement portal ensured vouchers could be ordered with speed and ease, all in one place.
Tailored grant administration support to ensure distribution targets were met.
Just one supplier contract and monthly invoice to minimise administrative costs and time.

"FFBS gave us all the help and support we needed and got everything set up in record time. They even changed their accounting system to make life easier for us; that's what I call customer service!"
- Andy Ellis, Business Development Manager at Doncaster Deaf Trust

In July 2020, Doncaster Deaf Trust (DDT) was awarded funds to distribute to those in need of support with fuel costs during the winter months. The aim of this project was to help low-income households most at risk of high energy bills due to poorly insulated homes, by providing energy vouchers to qualifying families in the local area.

Upon the recommendation of Doncaster Council, DDT approached Family Fund Business Services (FFBS) for the fulfilment and distribution of their grant scheme.

Their challenges

While securing the funding stream was positive for DDT, delivering such a large number of grants in a limited timeframe was going to be challenging. DDT was looking for a partner to support with awarding energy vouchers quickly and efficiently and approached FFBS because of their experience in administering similar schemes.

Andy Ellis, Business Development Manager at DDT – who was responsible for securing the funding and managing its distribution – said:

“I was initially at a loss and didn’t know who to approach. This was completely different for us as usually we meet people face to face. When speaking to the Energy Team Manager at Doncaster Council, they had no hesitation in recommending FFBS as they’d worked with them before. I made contact, had a long discussion with Paul McAfee – who would become our Account Manager – and was convinced at that point that we could work together well.”

Our solution

FFBS’ online procurement portal made the ordering process quick and simple as all vouchers could be ordered easily, in one place. With just one supplier contract and one monthly consolidated invoice, FFBS provided a fast and effective service whilst reducing the administrative burden.

As part of our ethos of continuous improvement, our team is always looking for opportunities to enhance our service offering. In 2020, after a review of our cash and energy voucher provision, we undertook development work with our supplier PayPoint, to further improve our provision of e-vouchers and cash awards for all of our customers. This enhanced our ability to deliver high volumes of much-needed support even quicker than before and, for DDT, meant grants could be quickly and easily administered to those who needed it most. In most cases, beneficiaries received their e-vouchers on the day they were ordered.

Andy Ellis said: “FFBS gave us all the help and support we needed and got everything set up in record time. The training for using the online portal was organised in a matter of days. While we were getting used to it, FFBS answered any questions we had within a day, which was brilliant. They even changed their accounting system to make life easier for us; that’s what I call customer service!”

The results

Partnering with FFBS ensured that DDT was able to distribute all funding within the designated time frame, awarding and delivering over 900 vouchers over a six-month period. The Trust was able to draw on the administrative experience and support of the FFBS team – as well as our one-stop-shop approach to grant fulfilment – which made placing and monitoring voucher orders easy and stress-free.

Andy Ellis said: “As the original end date for the programme approached, it was clear we weren’t going to hit our targets. The organisation who had awarded the funding gave us an extension and the team at FFBS went out of their way to publicise the project for us with some of their other partners. In the end, we managed to help over 500 families with their energy bills, with 900 vouchers distributed over a six-month period. We’re proud of that and FFBS should be too.”

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