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NORTH STAFFORDSHIRE WARM ZONE HELPS FAMILIES CLAIM £655,000 IN ADDITIONAL BENEFITS

ScottishPower Energy People Trust funding helps families make their homes ‘warm zones’. A North Staffordshire project which provided valuable information to families most at risk of fuel poverty has helped them to claim £655,000 in additional benefits they were entitled to.

The North Staffordshire Warm Zone ‘Access to Benefits and Claim Support’ project was provided with £41,354 of funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust to help families with benefit health checks, debt and energy efficiency advice. 

Over 1,595 families have been helped since the initiative began in 2008 with the project focusing on creating ‘warm zones’ for vulnerable fuel poor homes in North Staffordshire. Twenty outreach sessions were conducted at local children’s centres which offered a drop in service, tailored individual interviews, and awareness sessions with parent groups to provide advice on energy savings and benefit checks. In addition, home visits were conducted for those who could not participate in the drop in sessions.

The average increase in income for participating families was £2,200 which helped to alleviate their fuel poverty.  One local family was able to claim over £36,000 from additional benefits they were entitled to. The increased income and fuel savings help to make a real difference to the lives of those helped. Every family that participated in the Warm Zone project benefitted from free energy efficient light bulbs, a fire safety check and insulation evaluations.

Ann Loughrey, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at ScottishPower and The ScottishPower Energy People Trust Company Secretary, said: “We are very pleased that the residents of North Staffordshire have been able to access a total of £655,000 in unclaimed benefits. It is clear that the £41,354 donation to North Staffordshire Warm Zone provided by the ScottishPower Energy People Trust has been able to make a real difference to the lives of families in the area.”

“The exceptional average income increases resulting from the advice services have helped to relieve the stresses of fuel poverty and contribute to a better standard of living for the participating families.”

Sophie Thorley, Director at North Staffordshire Warm Zone, said: “We would like to thank ScottishPower Energy People Trust for its support and funding.  It has enabled us to reach local residents to help them find extra income from unclaimed benefits and help lift them out of fuel poverty.”

“In addition to the fuel saving advice offered to a number of families, we were also able to insulate 189 eligible homes, providing cavity wall and loft insulation to help reduce their fuel bills and keep them warm.”

“Many individuals were unaware of the help that was available to them. The funding has allowed the project to provide information and services to North Staffordshire residents in a straightforward and personal way and will continue to make a difference to local people for many years to come.”

Monday, January 16, 2012