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Dumfries and Galloway residents secure more than £2.5million in additional benefits

Dumfries Welfare Rights has helped more than 6,500 people in the area claim in excess of £2.5million of additional benefits they were entitled to.

The registered charity was provided with £99,888 of funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust over a period of two years to assist parents with young children who were struggling with fuel poverty across the region.  For every £1 the Trust donated to the organisation, people in Dumfries and Galloway who had been under claiming, were able to access an additional £25 in benefits they were unaware they were entitled to. 

Dumfries Welfare Rights helped families by widely publicising its Energy Assistance Package. It helped to maximise family incomes in the area through benefits checks targeting low income families which provided them with the means to better heat their homes.

The Fuel Poverty Income Maximisation for Families with Young Children project used the funds to employ two full-time workers to help families who were struggling with low incomes.  The project enabled them to claim benefits they were entitled to and ensured they had access to comprehensive energy efficiency advice. 

Funding allowed the organisation to target hard to reach families across Dumfries and Galloway.  In addition to benefits surgeries and attending events, Dumfries Welfare Rights targeted school children who were provided with a leaflet twice a year to pass on to their parents to highlight ways in which their family could be lifted out of fuel poverty. 

William McCormack, Manager of Dumfries Welfare Rights, said:

“We’re thrilled to have secured in excess of £2.5million of additional benefits for Dumfries and Galloway residents.

“Over the last two years, more than 6,500 families in the area became more aware of the benefits that they are entitled to, and we have shown them how they can reduce their fuel bills substantially through the support of our energy advisors.

“The funding from ScottishPower Energy People Trust has enabled our organisation to tackle the ongoing struggle that less well off families can face each year with fuel poverty and we are very grateful for the donation we received.”

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

“Dumfries Welfare Rights has made a significant difference to the lives of people in the area by assisting them with financial and energy advice, so that they can afford to keep their homes warm. 

“It is a tremendous achievement for one organisation to receive under £100,000 of funding which in turn has generated an additional £2.5 million for people in the local area.

 “Dumfries Welfare Rights has shown that it is committed to tackling fuel poverty and is dedicated to helping as many people as possible. The work the project undertakes in the area is a credit to the organisation and its staff and the ScottishPower Energy People Trust welcomes every project whose objective is to help families overcome fuel poverty.”

 

Friday, September 30, 2011