A CHARITY in Dumfries is set to provide warmth for over 8,000 vulnerable people after being granted almost £100,000 by the ScottishPower Energy People Trust.
Dumfries Welfare Rights, which assists vulnerable families in the area who are having financial difficulties, in particular those with young children, was given the grant recently to fund a duo of advice workers specialising in fuel poverty.
The workers are aiming to increase the household income of around 2,000 homes in the area, through advice on energy efficiency and benefit health checks.
The two year project – the Fuel Poverty Income Maximisation for Families with Young Children in Dumfries and Galloway – is one of 138 across the UK to benefit from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust’s funding since its inception in 2005.
Ann Loughrey, ScottishPower’s head of Corporate Social Responsibility and The ScottishPower Energy People Trust’s company secretary, said:
“It’s inevitable that over the cold winter months, heating will be on for longer, resulting in higher fuel bills. By offering advice on how to be more efficient with heating, as this project does, households can reduce bills and therefore lower the risk of living in fuel poverty.
“Also, by highlighting the availability of government energy efficiency packages and potential benefits to individuals, this could boost income and cut the risk of fuel poverty.”
The two full-time advisors have been in post since May, working hard to deliver an innovative income maximisation project to families in the Dumfries and Galloway area.
The project’s main aim is to deliver benefit health checks and energy efficient advice / measures to parents – the main target group – by leafleting all 106 primary and 17 secondary schools in the area. The workers have now directly accessed all school-age children in the region, by working with nurseries and other relevant agencies, and as a result are now reaching out to most parents throughout Dumfriesshire in need of assistance.
Working alongside the local Council, the project aims to have the advice leaflets delivered to all schools before the Christmas holidays. This will result in parents being informed on possible missing benefits and the new Government energy assistance package.
Bill McCormack the manager of Dumfries Welfare Rights, said:
“We are delighted to have received the generous grant from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust and are pleased with the progress of the project since the workers have come on board.
“We have been busy setting up benefit surgeries across the region in order to target groups who are a little more difficult to reach. So far, we have set up regular surgeries in Stranraer, Kelloholm, Dumfries, Northwest Dumfries and Newton Stewart. We are also contacting every toddler group in the region to offer the information leaflets, again to target vulnerable parents.
“Even at this early stage of this project, many families have seen an increase in their household income due to the additional benefits we have identified. Many local people have now had free loft and cavity insulation fitted, with some waiting on central heating and other measures to help reduce the risk of fuel poverty.”
If any voluntary organisation, school, nursery or toddler group would like the project to set up a surgery, please contact Fiona Buckley for more information, on 01387 266888 or email Fiona@welfarerights.co.uk.
For more information on the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, log on to www.energypeopletrust.co.uk.
For more information contact:
Gillian Hamilton, at The BIG Partnership, on 0141 333 9585 / 07734 656 676 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Note to Editors:
- ScottishPower has published its CSR Annual Review 2008 online. Following feedback from its stakeholders, this year’s Review is very much led by the community groups ScottishPower works with. To hear first hand from them as they tell their story about working with the company, tune in to ScottishPower’s innovative CSR TV station at: www.scottishpowercsrannualreview.com.
- The ScottishPower Energy People Trust does not provide funding directly to individuals but provides funding to not for profit organisations which represent the vulnerable/fuel poor. People described as living in fuel poverty are those who spend more than ten per cent of their income on energy bills.
- The decisions on the awards to organisations are made independent of ScottishPower by the Board of Trustees of the charity.
- To apply for a grant from The ScottishPower Energy People Trust, log onto www.energypeopletrust.co.uk or email email@example.com or call 0141 568 4727.
- The ScottishPower Energy People Trust is just one of a number of ScottishPower initiatives which assist some of the UK’s most vulnerable people. As well as working closely with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, ScottishPower employs Community Liaison Officers who visit people in their homes. The energy supplier has also insulated thousands of homes across the UK through its Energy Efficiency Commitment.
- ScottishPower has delivered 70 per cent of its Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT). This means that ScottishPower has now installed energy efficiency measures equivalent to insulating over 580,000 homes across the country. CERT – which came into effect on 1 April 2008 and is due to run until 2011 – is an obligation on energy suppliers to achieve targets for promoting reductions in carbon emissions in homes across the UK. 40 per cent of the CERT spend is directed towards customers believed to be the most vulnerable therefore also making a contribution to eradicating fuel poverty.
- In the Ofgem Monitoring suppliers’ social programmes 2007-08 December 2008, The Energy People Trust was identified as implementing best practice by providing support to trusted third party intermediaries and organisations to target assistance to those in fuel poverty, particularly those who are the most difficult to identify and hardest-to-reach.
- Established in November 2005, the ScottishPower Energy People Trust provides vital funding for not-for-profit organisations that help vulnerable people including families, young people, the disabled and the elderly, who need to spend more than ten per cent of their income on energy bills.
- To date the ScottishPower Energy People Trust has awarded £6,520,139 to 138 projects, helping over 772,403 individuals in 606,280 households throughout Britain.
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