Almost 1,000 households in some of the least privileged parts of Shropshire and Herefordshire have benefited from a fuel efficiency community project, thanks to a £19,600 funding boost from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust.

The Warmer Marches initiative delivered by Shropshire-based organisation Marches Energy Agency helped local residents in Herefordshire and Shropshire access free services and advice on energy efficiency and income management.

First launched in 2016, the project offered one-to-one support to vulnerable residents through community outreach programmes, specialised support groups and tailored events. Many service users were referred to the project by partner organisations including Age UK. Since forming in November 2005, the Trust has provided over £14.5 million to projects across the country.

Funding enabled the project to support a total of 983 vulnerable people across the regions. Of all those supported, over 200 individuals were registered disabled and over 200 were retired.

In one case, a retired woman was able to receive funding from various sources for a new boiler thanks to the sustained support of the project. This included several home visits by a project worker and heating engineer to evaluate the boiler’s condition.

The woman* said: “I was referred to the project by Age UK because I was having issues with my boiler. I was told it add to be replaced but I just didn’t have the funds to do it on my own. Warmer Marches helped me access funding from various charities to pay for a new boiler and installation. I now feel so much happier. I had so much worry last summer about the coming winter. For the first time ever I have instant hot water and no longer need to worry about keeping my home warm in the winter months.”

Oliver Rothwell, project manager at Marches Energy Agency, said: “The Warmer Marches project has been a great success. We’ve been able to deliver a valuable programme to some of the region’s most vulnerable people. Each year, as winter comes round, we find more and more people in need of support to ensure their homes are heated without the concern of financial strain – this project has allowed us provide that vital support.”

Richard Taylor, Secretary of the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, said:"The success of the Warmer Marches initiative is testament to the vital role support project play in local communities. The Energy People Trust is committed to supporting people across the country and we work with some really inspirational projects to make this happen. The project has proved to be a great success and we're very pleased to have played a part in supporting the team."

Tuesday, August 01, 2017