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Be a Bright Spark when it comes to Combating Fuel Poverty

Falkirk Council has been given funding to help young people and families across the area, thanks to The ScottishPower Energy People Trust.

Project Bright Spark, which will be delivered by the Council, received £10,000 to assist 18-21 year old adults who have recently left care, are lone parents or  young families by providing energy efficiency advice, crisis funding and benefit health checks.

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.

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

“The Trust is something special as it helps fuel-poor households, through funding not-for-profit organisations.
“Different types of support are provided, including crisis funding, benefits entitlement check, energy efficiency measures and research – all measures to help alleviate fuel poverty.

“We are delighted to be able to help out with Project Bright Spark. This week is Energy Efficiency Week (22nd to 28th October) so it’s important for everyone to be aware of how much energy they are using and could potentially save, making their homes more fuel efficient, which is something this project is aiming to do.”

Councillor Linda Gow, Falkirk Council Leader, said:

“The support from the Trust will allow us to assist those who genuinely need help meeting their energy needs.

“Fuel poverty is a serious housing issue which has a direct and long-term impact on individuals and a recent survey estimated that around 15% of people in Falkirk are fuel poor.

 “Falkirk Council is aiming to reduce this figure through various measures and the funding provided by the Trust will help us towards our target.”

Vulnerable people in the target age group who are experiencing problems directly associated with fuel poverty and are seeking financial assistance through their local social work office, will benefit from Project Bright Spark.

The funding will provide a £30 crisis payment as well as a home visit from the Strathclyde and Central Energy Efficiency Advice Centre, which is an information service, aiming to promote energy efficiency, raise environmental awareness and reduce fuel bills in homes throughout the Strathclyde and Central areas. 

Falkirk Council’s Community Advice Service will also provide welfare benefit health checks to ensure all vulnerable individuals are applying for benefits they are entitled to. 

The Council’s Strategic Support Unit will arrange for insulation measures including cavity wall, pipes, hot water tank & loft insulation to be fitted where technically possible.

When complete, the six-month project is expected to assist nearly 100 individuals in Falkirk, Bo’ness, Grangemouth, Stenhousemuir, Denny, Camelon, Dawson and the Braes.

So far, The ScottishPower Energy People Trust has awarded a staggering £3m to 76 projects across Britain, assisting over 137,000 individuals.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008