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Lone Parents and Children to Benefit from 50k Fuel Poverty Initiative

Single-parent families across Scotland are set to benefit from a £50,000 ground-breaking project in a bid to combat fuel poverty.

One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS), the charity based in Edinburgh, is aiming to target 6,000 households across the country, reaching out to individual parents as well as children, through its Family Power Project.

The funding came directly from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, which provides financial assistance to projects across the UK that are dealing directly with people living in fuel poverty.

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.

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

“At ScottishPower, we are dedicated to helping our most vulnerable customers so having the Trust and our new social tariff, we are hopeful that our assistance will help reduce the number of people facing fuel poverty.

“This project is a perfect example of why our Trust works. When we created the Trust, we decided with the assistance of research, that it would be more beneficial to give grants to organisations, like OPFS, who are dealing directly with vulnerable people.”

The Family Power Project will run for two years and will provide a range of services to empower its clients to manage their fuel bills effectively across its seven offices in Scotland.

The grant will fund a team of part-time workers who will prepare fact sheets for families, educational packs for children and personal development sessions for parents on how to manage their energy more effectively.

The workers are based in the Edinburgh and Glasgow but by the end of the month, they hope to educate and train colleagues in the other seven OPFS offices, through effective training sessions. The information will then be passed to all OPFS clients throughout the country, which include lone parents who are registered to the charity as well as other organisations who are working alongside single parent families. 

Advice will also be given on the advantages and disadvantages of different energy tariffs as well as a personal review on benefits to ensure that each parent is claiming all benefits they are entitled to. Children will receive packs on how to be energy efficient and help the planet by doing things such as switching TVs and computers off when not in use.

In addition, the project’s funding will provide a small amount of crisis funding to avoid family’s energy supplies being disconnected, which is more applicable especially during the cold winter months.

Sue Robertson, Director of OPFS, said:

“Over half of all children in poverty are in lone parent households and there are 77,000 lone parents in Scotland in receipt of benefits so our project will be able to effectively reach directly out to vulnerable people.

“We are delighted with our recent funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust and are confident that our project can make a difference to the many lives of families who are suffering from 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.

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