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EDINBURGH RESIDENTS SECURE £628,000 OF ADDITIONAL BENEFITS THROUGH THE ACTION GROUP

The  Lothian based Action Group has helped families with disabled children secure £628,000 of additional benefits they were entitled to claim.

The registered charity was provided with £93,200 of funding over three years by the ScottishPower Energy People Trust to help alleviate fuel poverty and run an income maximisation project.

Funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust was used to provide a full time  advice worker to help families of disabled children to have long-term access to affordable warmth.

Four hundred people in 115 homes were helped by the Fuel Poverty Income Maximisation Project for Disabled Children to maximise their income through benefit entitlements and ensure they had access to comprehensive energy efficiency advice.  The project adviser was able to visit families in their own homes, in recognition that carers of disabled children may find it difficult to get to office-based appointments. 

In addition to assisting families with benefit claims, the advisor referred 40 families to Changeworks, for energy efficiency advice and assistance.  As well as receiving expert advice on how to heat their homes affordably, some families were also helped to access grants for new, efficient boilers to be installed in their homes.

Jo Kirby, Advice Services Manager for The Action Group, said:

“Many families with disabled children live under extreme financial pressure and are particularly vulnerable to fuel poverty. The benefits system is also complex and applying for benefits is time consuming and can be a source of stress in its own right.

“With the help of ScottishPower Energy People Trust funding, this project has enabled us to lift some of that pressure off families.  We are delighted that we have been able to ensure that families in need are receiving the welfare benefits they are entitled to and have accessed advice to help heat their homes affordably.

“In addition to the 115 families helped, a further 230 families received information on their benefit entitlements through workshops, presentations and information stalls.

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

“For projects such as The Action Group to help families in need access an additional £628,000 in benefits is a fantastic endorsement of the achievements which can be made through ScottishPower Energy People Trust funding.  We were proud to be able to assist the organisation with its income maximisation project.

 “Projects like The Action Group support families with advice and information which is often difficult to come by and we welcome an organisation whose objective is to assist families and help alleviate their fuel poverty issues.” 

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.

For more information on the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, log on to www.energypeopletrust.co.uk

For further information on The Action Group, please visit www.theactiongroup.org.uk 

Friday, July 01, 2011