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Additional Funding Boost for Project which is Successfully Helping to Combat Fuel Poverty

A charity in Edinburgh, which assists local families who have children with disabilities, is rejoicing after receiving additional funding  for a further three years.

The Action Group has received almost £100,000 from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust to fund the Fuel Poverty Income Maximisation Project for Disabled Children.

The Action Group is a voluntary organisation, which has developed a range of services for people with learning disabilities and support needs, as well as their carers, throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians.

The funding has been made available following the success of the charity’s previous Energy People Trust funded project, known as the Lothian Income Maximisation Project.

This project reached out to more than twice the number of individuals it originally planned to assist – 156 people compared to the target of 60. Not only did last year’s project help twice the anticipated number, it also managed to generate £172,000 of additional income for some of society’s most vulnerable families, compared with its original target of £100,000.

Although the two projects differ in name, both have the overall aim of assisting families with children with disabilities.  A full time family advisor is funded to work with these families to maximise their income through benefit entitlements, and to ensure that they have access to advice about energy efficiency.

Ann Loughrey, ScottishPower’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and The ScottishPower Energy People Trust’s Company Secretary said:

“According to statistics, over three quarters of a million children in Britain have a disability and are among the children at greatest risk of poverty.

“The Action Group does an excellent job of reaching out to families who have children with disabilities and we’re delighted to be able to offer them additional funding.

“We’re really pleased with the results of the previous project carried out by the Action Group and are confident that the new funding will assist even more needy families in the Lothians.”

The ScottishPower Energy People Trust was established in November 2005 to fund not-for-profit organisations that help vulnerable people including families, young people, the disabled and the elderly who need to spend more than 10% of their income on energy bills.

The advice worker, Sandra Rosano, who was brought on board last month, offers advice on Welfare Rights entitlements as well as on energy efficiency and ensures that each needy family is receiving all benefits it is entitled to.

When required she will make home visits to those who are in need. Many of the families in need are referred to The Action Group by other voluntary organisations and each of the Lothian Councils. 

George Nuki, Trustee of the Board of The Action Group, said:

“It became apparent to the Action Group last year that there is great need for this type of service. We are simply thrilled and delighted that The ScottishPower Energy People Trust has given substantial further funding for this very worthwhile project. We anticipate that  the money will fund  the project for three years, by which  time we hope to have targeted over 500 individuals in need across the Lothians.

“There is evidence to suggest that the costs of raising a child with disabilities may be trebled, leaving many families facing poverty and social exclusion. Parents with children with disabilities are also more likely to have higher fuel bills, and this can result in significant, levels of fuel poverty.

“Our aim is to assist as many families with children with learning disabilities and   additional support needs in the area as we can. I am happy to be able to say that Sandra will be on hand to continue this work for a further three years. She is a fully trained advisor, who has been able to undertake training with Money Advice Scotland last year, thanks to the ScottishPower Energy People Trust’s funding.”

So far, the ScottishPower Energy People Trust has awarded a staggering £3.8m to 90 projects across Britain, assisting over 221,000 individuals in over 91,000 households.

Saturday, September 06, 2008