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£85,000 funding from ScottishPower Energy People Trust

A ground-breaking three year project to help hundreds of adult carers across East Lothian has helped over 751 local residents access £700,000 of vital financial support.

In January, 2011, Carers of East Lothian (CEL), a local organisation run out of Musselburgh was awarded £85,691 by the ScottishPower Energy People Trust to fund the ‘Warmer and Better off’ project.

Now in its third year, the project aims to help up to 1000 carers across the local community by hosting support groups, information workshops and scheduling home visits for those most in need. Key to reaching these carers is linking up with other support groups in the community, this vast network has allowed CEL reach vulnerable people who may otherwise fall through the net.

Trying to cope as best they can while helping to look after an elderly relative who has developed a debilitating illness such as Alzheimer's, a partner with Multiple Sclerosis or a young child born with cerebral palsy, carers often juggle paid work with their unpaid caring responsibilities at home.

Crucial is helping carers access the benefits and charitable grants they are eligible for. The additional benefit income received is over £700,000. They have also helped carers access funding for additional insulation and heating system upgrades. Managing bills can be stressful for those family members providing the care so the group is there to take the strain out of the process.

Janet, who was helped by the project said: “Carers of East Lothian guided us through the ins and outs of accessing the grants, which would have been impossible without help.  After years of struggle we have now have access for up to £1,300 of financial benefits, support we desperately needed. We could not have done this on our own and most of all it has given us peace of mind.”

Lisa Mcilwraith, energy adviser at CEL, said: “The funding received from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust has helped establish a service that local carers can really benefit from and often one that is a real life line for those that may find it difficult to find the time and resources to manage their bills whilst caring for a family-member full time.
“During the warmer months it’s easy to let energy efficiency slip your mind, but it’s always possible to make savings by checking your fuel bills, effectively using hot water and using white goods economically.”

Ann Loughrey, Company Secretary and Trustee of the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, said: “Carers of East Lothian is already well-established in the area offering local carers a range of services. Thanks to funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, they can continue to provide specialised energy efficiency advice to those who are vulnerable in the community and we are delighted to continue to support the Warmer and Better Off project.”

 About The ScottishPower Energy People Trust
The ScottishPower Energy People Trust funds registered charities that help people whose lives are affected by fuel poverty. Since forming in November 2005, the Trust has provided over £11.6 million to 244 projects across Britain, helping more than 1.5 million people. The Trust is funded by ScottishPower and voluntary donations from independent supporters.

Thursday, June 13, 2013