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Elimintating Fuel Poverty in Ayrshire

A project in East Ayrshire is celebrating after boosting the back pockets of carers just in time for Christmas.

The Eliminating Poverty Project, which was granted almost £80,000 in funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust back in July 2007, has successfully sourced £350K worth of unclaimed benefits for its carers.

The two-year project, which is part of the Princess Royal Trust’s East Ayrshire Carers’ Centre, is due to be completed in just seven months. It provides benefit health checks for carers in the area who are experiencing financial difficulties.

Money maximisation and advice on how to manage finances is given, as well as tips of how to save by being energy efficient. Staff members at the project, who are trained to City & Guilds level in Energy Awareness, liaise with other agencies to ensure that carers’ homes are well insulated.

The project is already on target towards its goal and has successfully presented to 125 of the centre’s newly registered carers, which will hopefully benefit 500 homes across East Ayrshire. The information slots are proving popular.

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.

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

“We’re really pleased with the Eliminating Poverty Project’s progress so far. Fuel poverty is an issue which affects millions of households across Britain and the purpose of our Trust is to financially assist projects, like this one, which deal directly with those most affected by the problem. 

“Being able to manage finances successfully will make a huge difference to vulnerable people in East Ayrshire and we’re confident the advice they are given will be useful in the long term and will help prevent fuel poverty occurring in the future.”

The Princess Royal Trust, East Ayrshire Carers Centre provides help, support and information to those caring for relatives, friends or neighbours who otherwise may be unable to manage themselves.

In particular, the Eliminating Poverty Project provides training and education programmes in subjects such as Money Management, to allow the Carers to manage their finances on an ongoing basis, help to identify and support new carers and support families in a crisis situation such as fuel arrears, debt and eviction.

The £350K of additional money was accessed through the project for carers and their families and was generated from unclaimed Cares Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance, as well as others.

Jane Smith, Chief Executive of The Princess Royal Trust, East Ayrshire Carers Centre, said:

“We’re really pleased with the project’s positive results so far. We have been able to give significant assistance to both young and adult carers, as well as family members whose lives are affected by their caring responsibilities.

“The work of a carer is obviously a very important role so we’re obviously really grateful for the ScottishPower Energy People Trust for donating the grant to allow us to make a difference to carers’ lives.

When complete, the project is expected to assist nearly 500 households in East Ayrshire, from Lugton to Dalmellington.

So far, the ScottishPower Energy People Trust has awarded over £4.5m to 103 projects helping over 243,000 individuals in over 105,000 households throughout Britain.

For further information on the Eliminating Poverty Project, please contact 01563 571 533.

Saturday, June 07, 2008