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Fuel Poverty Project Receives Funding Green Light

A two- year project which will help 1,000 families living in fuel poverty in Neath Port Talbot has been given the go-ahead.

The Welfare Rights Unit at the local authority has received over £70,000 from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust to fund its Fuelling Kids Project.

The initiative is aiming to target some of the poorest regions in Wales, assisting families and in particular those with young children, who are most at risk of fuel and income poverty.

The cash boost will pay for a full and part-time worker, whose roles will be to provide benefit health checks, debt advice and top tips on energy efficiency to families in Communities First areas, which are locations around Wales that are classed as high on the index of multiple deprivation.

Councillor Peter Rees, Cabinet Member for Community Care and Housing at Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, said:

“The recent news of the grant allocation from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust is fantastic, particularly as so many local people are struggling to pay their energy bills. By being a bit smarter with their usage and making sure they are receiving all benefits they are entitled to, families can work towards having a better life, which is so important, especially for children. 

“The initiative is very much a pro-active programme and we’re confident that the two new recruits will work hard to help our fight against fuel and income poverty in the area.”

The vacant posts are expected to be filled by the start of March and the team will work with local schools as venues for special surgeries. The first has already been set up in the Briton Ferry area, which will target schools in that neighbourhood.

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 feel that it’s really important to be allocating grants to initiatives like the Fuelling Kids Project, as they target the heart of where the fuel poverty problems lie in communities.

“Focussing on special information surgeries in schools is an ideal way to reach out to parents and we hope that as many as possible will attend the events to find out what they can do to have a better way of life for themselves and their children.”

As well as supporting the Trust, ScottishPower recently announced that in total it will be investing £240 million over the next three years on social measures and energy efficiency programmes designed to help lift customers out of fuel poverty and reduce bills.

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.

Friday, February 06, 2009