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MENTAL HEALTH NORTH EASTS INNOVATIVE TRAINING SCHEME

Hundreds helped thanks to ScottishPower Energy People Trust funding.

Over the past year, Mental Health North East (MHNE) has put over £49,000 of funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust to great use in their work helping local people living with mental ill health. The funding helped set up the Warm Minds project which assists vulnerable households achieve affordable warmth.

With winter approaching, many households find it hard to make ends meet and keep on top of finances and energy use. For those living with mental ill health, these issues can become even more acute and cause distress for the individual and their family. MHNE recognised that local healthcare practitioners, who are in a position of trust and have regular direct contact with such families, were the best people to advise their service users on energy issues.

In March 2013, the project began running a series of courses and successfully trained 197 healthcare professionals and volunteers in how to help their service users with energy efficiency, income maximisation and signposting further sources of support. The professionals have since disseminated their advice to over 273 local people and are poised to provide further assistance for service users during the winter months.

In addition, the funding was also used to provide practical items such as thermal blankets to over 300 individuals and families across the North-East.

James*, who has received advice from the project, said: “I’ve learned some great tips on using energy in the home. It makes me feel less worried about the bairns going to bed, I know that they will at least be warm.”

Lyn Boyd, CEO of MHNE, said: “This project has been a huge success, we have successfully managed to train 197 individuals who are now supporting vulnerable people to better manage fuel payments. The feedback MHNE has received from organisations has been extremely positive and our aim is to offer this programme to many more communities in the future.”

Ann Loughrey, Company Secretary and Trustee of the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, said: “MHNE is already well-established in the area helping its service users in numerous ways. Over the past year, thanks to funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, they have been able to provide specialised energy efficiency and income maximisation advice to those who are vulnerable in the community and we are delighted to have supported the Warm Minds project.”

*Name has been changed

Wednesday, September 25, 2013