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North Smethwick Development Trust is celebrating helping thousands of local people with specialist financial and energy advice. Thanks to funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, the project has helped 1,484 local people maximise their income through accessing additional benefits, grants and energy efficiency advice.

The project kicked off in May 2013, with the goal of helping vulnerable people in North Smethwick access affordable warmth. The £9,407 funding from the Energy People Trust enabled the project to provide targeted community outreach, through home visits and community advice days.

The project shares a wealth of practical knowledge with service users, helping people save money through a variety of different options. These include applying for the benefits to which they are entitled. Energy efficiency was also at the heart of the project and the Trust equipped many local families with energy meters to help them monitor and subsequently save money on their utility bills.

Sue Howarth, Chief Executive, North Smethwick Development Trust, said: “The project funded by the ScottishPower Energy People Trust has provided support to some of the most vulnerable households in the neighbourhood.  We have worked with local agencies in North Smethwick to reach out to all members of the community to maximise low levels of household income by supporting people in reducing their energy costs, maximising benefit entitlements and helping them to identify where other household expenditure savings can be made.  The project has enabled us to identify those most in need and we now run a debt advice clinic for local people.”

Ann Loughrey, Company Secretary and Trustee of the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, said: “The North Smethwick Development Trust is already well established in the area offering local people a range of services. Thanks to funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, they have been able to provide specialist financial and energy efficiency advice to those who are vulnerable in the community. We are delighted to support this incredibly worthwhile project.”

Monday, December 01, 2014