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BRISTOL DEBT ADVICE CENTRE MAXIMISES INCOMES BY £150K

A BRISTOL based project has helped local residents maximise their incomes by £150,152.23 during the past year alone.

Bristol Debt Advice Centre was provided with £45,000 of funding over two years from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust (SPEPT) to help alleviate fuel poverty.

Since the SPEPT funded project began in 2011, the registered charity has employed a specialist advice worker for its Energy Advice project.  The project has been running for six years, however with support from the Trust it has been able to expand its services to provide stay and play advice sessions at children’s and family centres, one to one energy efficiency and debt advice, crisis grants for household items and frontline worker training.

The project offers a range of free services for clients to help them avoid and address fuel poverty and fuel debt.  They help improve clients’ understanding of how to manage their energy consumption and bill payments and advise them on where to get further specialist help and support if needed. Clients have been assisted to complete charitable trust applications helping them to clear fuel arrears and bad debt, which has in turn lifted them out of fuel poverty.

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

“Funding provided by the ScottishPower Energy People Trust to Bristol Debt Advice Centre has already made an enormous difference to more than 900 clients in the local area and we are really pleased that the project is making a positive impact on the lives of local residents. 

“This is a great initiative as it not only helps people deal with fuel energy issues short term, but it also gives them the tools to manage their energy consumption and bills in the longer term to help keep their homes warm.

“It is a fantastic achievement for an organisation to be given £45,000 over two years and turn that into a £150,000 benefit for people in the local area in first year alone.  We look forward to seeing what Bristol Debt Advice Centre can do over the full course of the project.

Rhianne Cotterill, Energy Advice Project Manager at Bristol Debt Advice Centre, said:  “We’d like to thank ScottishPower Energy People Trust for its funding award to our Energy Advice project.  The money has made a real difference to our clients and enabled us to help hundreds of Bristolians to lift themselves out of fuel poverty. 

“We have a solid foundation from our first year of funding which we can now build on in year two to develop this project into an even bigger success.

“Our project has been very successful in helping people in its first year and we’ll continue to build on this achievement for the duration of the initiative.”

Established in November 2005, the Scottish Power Energy People Trust provides vital funding for registered charities 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.

For further information on Bristol Debt Advice Centre, please visit www.bdac.org.uk or call 0117 954 3990

For further information on the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, please visit: www.energypeopletrust.com

Monday, November 05, 2012