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Youth Action, a young people’s charity based in Lancashire has recently completed a pioneering 2 year project entitled, Closing the Door on Fuel Poverty. The project has had a significant impact within the local community and had helped over 3,500 households across Blackburn and Darwen become more energy efficient.

The project kicked-off in March 2011, when Youth Action was awarded £95,000 of funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust to fund this innovative new project.

Empowering vulnerable young people was at the heart of the project and 54 young people signed up as local energy ambassadors, working with a dedicated energy adviser to become experts on energy efficiency. 

Working alongside the energy adviser, the young ambassadors delivered over 45 energy workshops to local people as well as issuing fuel diaries to 3,756 households to help them better manage their fuel consumption and receive top tips for cutting back.

The ground level research and one-to-one contact involved in the project has also highlighted other underlying issues to local authorities such as debt and housing challenges and in turn allowed the authorities to help those most in need.

Amanda who was helped by the scheme and since become an energy ambassador, said: “This was an eye opener for me, I would like to thank Youth Action for the help they gave to me so that I can save money on my bills, and help my family more.  I now have the skills to help others!”

Chief Executive of Youth Action, Amar Abass, said: “The long-term effects of this project are outstanding – you just need to look out on the horizon of Blackburn and you’ll see an increase in the number of houses with solar panels. I feel privileged to have worked with the team of dedicated young people and watch them make a positive impact in Blackburn and Darwen by helping those in need.”

Ann Loughrey from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust said: ‘The Closing the Door on Fuel Poverty project is hugely inspirational and has helped thousands of local families. It is an excellent example of Energy People Trust funding being put to good use in the local community.’

Wednesday, May 08, 2013