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Fuel Poverty Project Receives Funding Boost

A FUEL poverty initiative in Northumberland has received a funding boost from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust.

West Northumberland Citizen’s Advice Bureau has received a grant of nearly £20,000 from the Trust.

The donation will help fund a fuel efficiency project which aims to reach 550 vulnerable households.

The CAB will use the money to employ a part-time worker who will deal exclusively with fuel poverty and will have cases referred from the debt workers.

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

“We are delighted to be able to assist this project. This is exactly the kind of initiative which can help turn people’s lives around and really provide a lifeline to vulnerable families.

“By employing someone who can deal exclusively with fuel poverty, the West Northumberland CAB can extend the help and advice they give and reach out to more of its customers.

“The ScottishPower Energy People Trust was created to help fund projects just like this. The Trust also complements the range of other work ScottishPower is doing to help vulnerable people across the UK that are living in fuel poverty.”

The new employee will also give the CAB the flexibility to be able to deal with clients from drop in sessions.

By building up this expertise the Bureau can be much more proactive in tackling fuel poverty in an area where it is great cause for concern.

Roger Braybrook from West Northumberland CAB said:

“We are delighted with this grant as it will help us tackle fuel poverty in a proactive manner in an area that has one of the highest rates of fuel poverty in the country. Already we have saved one elderly lady £600 a year. We are working with another client with who can only afford to cook using a microwave and heat water once a week. We are also tackling her incorrect energy bill and organising the insulation of her home.

“With another organisation we are confident of totally modernising her heating system to make it affordable. This project will make a significant impact, in particular, on the elderly, families with children, the disabled and those on low incomes who are most affected by fuel poverty.”

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.

When complete, the Fuel Efficiency Project is expected to assist approximately 550 households in the area.

Thursday, April 22, 2010