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2,890 reached thanks to funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust

For the past 20 years, Tassibee, a local volunteer-led support group, has been committed to giving a voice to non-English speaking residents in Rotherham, who as a result of language barriers or illiteracy experience feelings of social exclusion.

People facing such language issues may also struggle to understand and balance household bills and are particularly vulnerable to falling into fuel poverty. Recognising this concern, Tassibee has over the past year been using its position within the community to promote energy efficiency and income maximisation.

In May 2012 Tassibee was awarded £42,900 from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust to provide information, skills and advice on fuel poverty to non-English speaking families in the local area. A year in, the project has already helped a total of 2,890 local people through hosting information events, distributing information booklets in a number of languages and scheduling home visits for those most in need.

Practical advice is at the heart of the project. Volunteers visit clients’ homes and demonstrate how best to set their boilers and radiators and give them thermometers to monitor temperatures within the home. Simple practical tips like these allow clients to take control of their energy usage and keep bills low. Practical techniques are also supplemented with assistance in applying for available fuel benefits and supporting monitoring and paying bills.

Ayesha*, who is originally from Pakistan and was helped by the project, said: “I was shocked at how all the little things add up. I had fallen into some bad habits, things I did automatically but had never noticed. Staff from Tassibee explained several easy tips that make such a big difference. My family has saved a considerable amount of money which we can put towards other essentials.”

As well as already helping thousands of local people, Tassibee hopes that members of the community will themselves spread the word about energy efficiency. The project has already teamed up with ten local organisations and trained 24 black and minority ethnic professionals from within other local organisations, passing on the skills to advise others on energy efficiency and income maximisation.

Khalida Luqman, the Project Manager at Tassibee, said: “Fuel poverty can be a big issue for people in Rotherham and keeping on top of bills can be overwhelming for someone with language or literacy issues. Tassibee exists as a support system for people in the local community. We ultimately want to build a trusting relationship with harder to reach people in the local community and help them save money and understand how to lead an energy efficient lifestyle.”

Ann Loughrey, Company Secretary and Trustee of the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, said: “Tassibee is already well-established in the area offering the local Asian community a range of services. Over the past year, thanks to funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, they have been able to provide specialised energy efficiency advice to those who are vulnerable in the community and we are delighted to have supported them in this project.”                               

About The ScottishPower Energy People Trust
The ScottishPower Energy People Trust funds registered charities that help people whose lives are affected by fuel poverty. Since forming in November 2005, the Trust has provided over £11.6 million to 244 projects across Britain, helping more than 1.5 million people. The Trust is funded by ScottishPower and voluntary donations from independent supporters.

Thursday, August 15, 2013