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Holme Wood Families Secure More Than £160K In Additional Benefits

Bradford based Holme Wood Outreach Advice Service has helped local people secure £162,277 of additional benefits they were entitled to claim to help lift them out of fuel poverty.

The registered charity was provided with funding of £42,931 by the ScottishPower Energy People Trust to employ a full time poverty and income maximisation advisor. The advisor worked with a range of vulnerable groups, young people, elderly and disabled people, families and lone parents, to help lift them out of poverty, when more than 10% of their income was spent on fuel bills.  The project officer also worked with these groups to prevent them going into fuel poverty in the first instance. Incomes of vulnerable groups were maximised through providing them with full benefits checks to ensure they were accessing all the help available to them.  Assistance involved assessing entitlements to Working and Child Tax Credit, Housing and Council Tax Benefit, Pension Credit, Income Support and Disability benefits. 

Holme Wood Outreach Service also refered clients to other useful services, including EAGA and Warm Front to encourage people to reduce their ongoing utility costs through grants for central heating and loft insulation.

Holme Wood’s project worker undertook two outreach sessions per week within the community where local people were advised on how to manage their fuel debt and issues.  In addition, information was provided on preventing disconnection and the project empowered clients to manage their bills through budgeting skills and energy efficiency.  The advice worker also carried additional sessions and individual appointments for those who required further support or advice.

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

“Funding provided by the ScottishPower Energy People Trust to Holme Wood Outreach Advice Service has made a great difference to local people. The project is clearly working to help people in the community and it is a positive outcome for an organisation to be given £42,000 and turn that into a £162,277 benefit for people requiring assistance.

 “Increases in family household budgets as a result of Holme Wood Outreach advice services have helped relieve the stresses of fuel poverty and contribute to a better standard of living for those who have been helped.”

Sharon Jennings, Team Leader and Debt Specialist at Holme Wood Outreach Advice Service, said:

“We would like to thank ScottishPower Energy People Trust for its support and funding.  It has enabled us to work with more than 340 people and help them find extra income from unclaimed benefits to lift them out of fuel poverty.

“Many people were unaware of the extra assistance that was available to them. The funding has allowed us to provide detailed advice and spend time with them to help complete benefit claims.  This assistance will continue to make a difference to local families for many years to come.”

Thursday, July 12, 2012