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Fuel Poverty Helpline To Assist Single Parent Families

OVER 90,000 vulnerable one parent families across England and Wales are being given a lifeline, thanks to a £100,000 grant from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust.

The ScottishPower Energy People Trust is helping to fund staff at the Gingerbread Single Parent Helpline, who amongst other financial related issues will be able to provide key support and information about fuel poverty, prioritising debts, paying bills and how to maximise income.

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

“Fuel poverty affects millions of homes across the country and is caused by a combination of poor energy efficiency in homes and low income.

“Single parent families live on lower incomes than other families and are more likely to experience fuel poverty, which is why Gingerbread’s helpline is such a vital service and we are delighted to be able to provide support to this.”

Established in November 2005, the ScottishPower Energy People Trust provides vital funding for 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.

To date, the Trust has awarded almost £5.5m to 116 projects helping over 391,000 individuals in over 243,000 households throughout Britain.

Gingerbread, is the charity that works nationally and locally, for and with single parent families, to improve their lives, providing expert information and advice along with membership and training opportunities, to them.

The funding will cover costs for the one part time and two full time posts to maintain the helpline and develop online resources to help single parent families who are facing financial difficulties.

Paul Treloar, Head of Helpline at Gingerbread, said:

“During a recent Gingerbread survey, it was discovered that 79 per cent of single parents said they had to turn down the heating to help manage their finances. Also, around 48% of children experiencing severe poverty live in a single parent family so it is imperative that they receive free, dedicated advice and support.

“This year has seen record numbers of calls to the helpline, with single parents contacting Gingerbread to discuss fuel poverty and debt related issues. We are extremely grateful for the support of the ScotishPower Energy People Trust in allowing us to improve this essential service.”

Gingerbread’s Single Parent Helpline offers expert information and advice for single parents:  0800 018 5026. Open 9am to 5pm Mon-Fri with an extended opening to 8pm on Wed.

Monday, August 17, 2009