Giving the power back to vunerable people Dumfries

Independent Living Support (ILS) has been granted over £50,000 to fund a three year project to assist residents in Dumfries and Galloway who are living in fuel poverty.

The initiative, named the Empowering People Project, was launched at the ILS office in Dumfries, which Russell Brown, MP and Dr Elaine Murray, MSP attended.

The ScottishPower Energy People Trust provided the cash, which will be used to fund the Empowering People Project, which aims to provide crisis funding and advice on how to manage clients’ energy accounts responsibly.

Established in 2005, The ScottishPower Energy People Trust funds not-for-profit organisations which 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 Responsibility and The ScottishPower Energy People Trust’s Company Secretary said:

“We’re really pleased to be able to fund Independent Living Support and are confident that the money will help to change many lives in Dumfries and Galloway.

“We set up the ScottishPower Energy People Trust to financially assist organisations which help some of society’s most vulnerable people and we have assisted projects that are doing some fantastic work with children and young people, families and the elderly.”

The Empowering People Project is aimed at vulnerable Dumfries and Galloway residents aged between 16 and 60 who are classed as living in fuel poverty.

Individuals, who are referred to the project, can benefit from a free drop-in service for advice, use of the phone or internet to assist those having issues with their energy bills. The project can provide crisis funding to ILS service users who are in need of it most.

Whether a client is having problems with their energy supplier, struggling with their power meter or having difficulty paying bills, the project aims to help resolve these issues which can lead to a living a life in fuel poverty.

Elaine Colquhoun, Financial and Operational Manager at Independent Living Support, said:

“We’re thrilled with the generous donation from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust and are looking forward to seeing the benefits it will bring.

“Our service users range from individuals or families who are making the transition from homelessness to their first tenancy, ex-offenders and substance abusers so the funding is crucial in providing that step towards a new life for many.”

With many clients living in rural areas surrounding Dumfries, offering a telephone and email service is crucial for Independent Living Support. With permission, a project worker can contact clients’ utility companies directly in order to help diffuse any issues, which would probably lead on to fuel poverty.

Russell Brown, MP, Dumfries and Galloway, said:

"I am delighted that Independent Living Support asked me to help launch the Empowering People Project and commend ILS and The ScottishPower Energy People Trust for actively working to eradicate the problem.

“Too many households in Scotland still suffer from fuel poverty so it’s positive to know that the funding provided will help address the situation in Dumfries and Galloway, allowing those affected to have a better lifestyle.”

So far, the ScottishPower Energy People Trust has awarded over £3.57m to 87 projects helping over 215,000 individuals in over 88,000 households throughout Britain.

The Empowering People Project offers its services between 10am and 2pm, Monday to Friday. Those interested, should contact 01387 261746 or email epp@ils.eclipse.co.uk. The drop-in centre is at 8 George Street Meuse, Dumfries, DG1 1HH.

Thursday, June 07, 2007