Media Release: Funding boost for Central Belt to help tackle fuel poverty

RESIDENTS across the Central Belt are set to benefit from a team of eco warriors, who are on a mission to reduce fuel poverty, thanks to a vital £15,000 grant.

The ScottishPower Energy People Trust awarded Link Housing Association (LHA) funding to provide specialistCity and Guild level training for a 15-strong team of housing and maintenance officers.

Once fully trained as Domestic Energy Advisors, the team will put their new skills to use by providing support, advice and expertise on home energy issues to Link tenants. The project – the Fuel Poverty and Energy Advice Programme – aims to assist over 5,000 individuals across central Scotland.

Ann Loughrey, ScottishPower’s head of Corporate Social Responsibility and The ScottishPower Energy People Trust’s company secretary, said: “It is inevitable that as we head into the cold, winter months, we will need to heat our homes for longer, which can result in high energy bills and can potentially lead to fuel poverty if a home is not energy efficient.

“Once up and running, the Fuel Poverty and Energy Advice Programme will be a valuable service for vulnerable residents across the Central Belt in helping to reduce fuel poverty.

“LHA is just one of 125 organisations to benefit from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust since its inception in 2005 and we are confident that the grant will make a difference to thousands of lives in the country.”

One of Scotland’s largest housing associations, Falkirk-based LHA, provides housing management and maintenance services to more than 5,000 tenants across central Scotland in its rented accommodation.

Training of all 15 energy advisors is expected to be complete by January 2010. Around 1,500 homes in the Central Belt will then be contacted via a mailing campaign to highlight the Fuel Poverty and Energy Advice Programme.

Households experiencing the worst cases of fuel poverty (identified by the Index of Multiple Deprivation), will then be targeted by phone to arrange a one-to-one visit.

Colin Reid, Energy and Sustainability officer at LGHA, said: “The funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust will be used to make a significant impact to the lives of vulnerable households across central Scotland and we are delighted to have received this vital grant.

“The bulk of the money will be used for the initial training phase, which is expected to begin late October. Thereafter, we expect the specialist-trained energy awareness advisors to be able to help tenants for the foreseeable future, through drop-in services at our offices, home visits and community group evenings.

“The overall aim of the advisors is to analyse energy usage in households, discuss potential improvements and offer specific advice on reducing fuel consumption and reduce any financial burden, which should result in fewer homes suffering from fuel poverty.”

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Contact: Gillian Hamilton
Phone: 0141 333 9585