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Energy Efficiency top of the Agenda in Manchester Thanks to Charity Initiative

A fuel poverty project is celebrating after encouraging residents to change their energy-use habits for the better.

Adactus Housing Association, a local housing organisation, set up the Manchester Energy Advice Project in 2006 thanks to a grant provided by the ScottishPower Energy People Trust.

Almost £70,000 has been ploughed into the project, which aimed to reduce fuel poverty and has benefited residents in the Cheetham Hill, Moss Side and Rusholme areas.

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 and suffer from fuel poverty.

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

“We are really pleased with the outcome of the Manchester Energy Advice Project and are proud that the recipients of the advice have made an effort to cut back on their energy usage.

“Organisations such as Adactus Housing Association are essential in raising awareness of how energy efficiency can make a substantial difference in terms of reducing energy bills, improving the comfort and warmth of the home and ultimately helping to remove household fuel poverty.”

The initiative, which received £30,000 in funding from the Trust in 2006 and then a further £40,000 in 2007, offered local residents advice on energy efficiency in their own homes, empowering local community groups to be able to disseminate this advice themselves and increase the number of residents accessing energy saving products and home improvements.

During 2007, the project added an extra dimension to help the fight against fuel poverty by offering energy monitoring units within selected homes in the target areas. Recipients noted that the units made a difference to their behaviour, making them more aware of how much energy was being wasted in their homes.

By summer 2008, 83% of beneficiaries stated that they had successfully adopted energy efficiency in the home, with 90% stating that they now use low-energy light bulbs, thanks to the project.
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As a result of the success of the project, the full-time Energy Efficiency Advisor, Louise Whan, who was employed in 2006 with the funding, has now been given a permanent role of dealing with the group-wide energy advice service, with the task of reducing tenants vulnerability to fuel poverty.

Louise said:

“The Manchester Energy Advice Project has been two years of hard work but going by the results, it’s definitely paid off. The project was also short-listed for a UK Housing Award in 2007, which we’re really proud of.

“Through various working partnerships, we managed to visit 350 homes in the target areas and as 83% of people to benefit from the advice have changed their energy habits, is a fantastic result and proves that this is an important and required service in the area.”

Reducing fuel poverty has now become a priority for the Adactus Group, and has been added to the business plan as a corporate goal.

Adactus Housing Association forms part of the Adactus Housing Group and was formed in 2002. The Adactus Housing Group builds, renovates and manages affordable housing for rent and sale in areas across Greater Manchester and the North West. 

As well as managing and building affordable housing, Adactus also develops regeneration initiatives and shared ownership schemes, provides supported housing and community projects and provides training and employment initiatives.

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 more information about the project please contact Louise Whan directly on 01942 608 715 or email louise.whan@adactus-group.com

Friday, February 06, 2009