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One Stop Shop Makes Life Easier for Fuel Poor Broomhouse Residents

Almost 500 underprivileged people in the Broomhouse and North Sighthill area have taken advantage of a new service to help alleviate fuel poverty.

The Community One Stop Shop (COSS), received £30,000 in funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust last year, to give financial advice to a wide range of groups including families with children, young people setting up home for the first time and vulnerable older people.

The drop in, outreach and referral service was set up by locals and aims to alleviate fuel poverty in the area by providing help and advice to those who are in need of it most.

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.

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

“We’re delighted that the funding given to COSS has benefited the whole community and we’re confident that the advice service provided will help to ease fuel poverty in the area.

“Fuel poverty affects over 4 million people in the UK so any assistance we can provide through the ScottishPower Energy People Trust is vital.

“Different types of support are provided by projects, including crisis funding, benefits entitlement check, energy efficiency measures and research – all measures to help alleviate fuel poverty.”

The majority of work that COSS carries out is trying to cut poverty by assisting clients with filling in benefit forms, setting up payment plans and helping to organise clients’ finances.

Money-related issues are the most common topic of enquiry that the service has to deal with and are inevitably a major contributing to fuel poverty, unless they are addressed.

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In the COSS office, a resource library is being built-on, which in the future should hopefully function as a user-friendly service for clients to browse and find information on a relevant topic, such as training course, childcare and local services.

Jim Slaven, Information and Development worker at COSS, said:

“We’re very pleased with the success of the Community One Stop Shop and are very grateful for the generous grant provided by the ScottishPower Energy People Trust.

“We’re proud of the workers here at COSS and appreciate all the valuable work that they have carried out in the community. We hope that in the future, we will continue to receive grants from a variety of trusts and funds so we can maintain the strong service, which is provided to help alleviate fuel poverty in the area.”

So far, the ScottishPower Energy People Trust has awarded a staggering £3.8m to 90 projects across Britain, assisting over 221,000 individuals in over 91,000 households.

Sunday, July 06, 2008