Page Header Image
Page Header Image shadow gif

Reaching out to vulnerable Residents in Midlothian

A project in Midlothian is celebrating after a recent grant from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust helped it reach out to three times the amount of vulnerable people it hoped to assist.

Reaching Out, which is organised by Dalkeith & District Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB), received almost £30,000 in funding two years ago. The initiative aimed to increase awareness of the advice services provided by Dalkeith & District CAB within rural areas of Midlothian, specifically focusing on income maximisation.

Five remote areas were selected, concentrating on families with young children who are on lower incomes, as well as the elderly, to assess whether CAB services were required locally, and if so, in what form these should be delivered.

Reaching Out was given year-long funding by the ScottishPower Energy People Trust in November 2006, with an initial target of assisting 100 individuals in the rural areas of Midlothian.

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 really proud of the Trust’s success to date.  Giving funding to charities means that the experts decide how money should be used and resources reach those most in need of our help.

“We know that over £9bn of state benefits is not being claimed by those who are entitled to it, so Reaching Out is crucial in helping people claim their full entitlement and providing a welcome boost in household income.”

Various community groups were targeted through Reaching Out so that young families and the elderly specifically could be reached, through playgroups, church groups, community centres, pensioners’ groups and nurseries.

Targeted villages included Cousland, Pathead, Temple, Carrington and North Middleton & Borthwick, which are areas believed to have poorer transport links, which makes travelling to towns for welfare rights services difficult.

Irene Hutchison, Manager of Dalkeith & District Citizens Advice Bureau, said:

“Overall, we felt that the project successfully reached out to our target audience and are now confident that people living in these rural areas can easily access the services of CAB, should they require them.

“From the research carried out, 283 enquiries were received by us through individuals within the targeted areas, which was a great success considering we initially aimed to help 100 people.

“We are extremely grateful for the funding provided by the ScottishPower Energy People Trust and are delighted with the outcome.”

So far, the ScottishPower Energy People Trust has awarded over £3.57m to 87 projects helping over 215,000 individuals in over 88,000 households throughout Britain.

Thursday, March 06, 2008