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Lone Parents And Children To Benefit From £50K Fuel Poverty Initiative

24/02/2009

SINGLE-parent families across Scotland are set to benefit from a £50,000 ground-breaking project in a bid to combat fuel poverty.

One Parent Families Scotland, the charity based in Edinburgh, is aiming to target 6,000 households across the country, reaching out to individual parents as well as children, through its Family Power Project.

The funding came directly from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, which provides financial assistance to projects across the UK that are dealing directly with people living in fuel poverty.

As well as supporting the Trust, ScottishPower recently announced that in total it will be investing £240 million over the next three years on social measures and energy efficiency programmes designed to help lift customers out of fuel poverty and reduce bills.

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

“At ScottishPower, we are dedicated to helping our most vulnerable customers so having the Trust and our new social tariff, we are hopeful that our assistance will help reduce the number of people facing fuel poverty.

“This project is a perfect example of why our Trust works. When we created the Trust, we decided with the assistance of research, that it would be more beneficial to give grants to organisations, like One Parent Families, who are dealing directly with vulnerable people.”

The Family Power Project will run for two years and will provide a range of services to empower its clients to manage their fuel bills effectively across its nine offices in Scotland.

The grant will fund a team of part-time workers who will prepare fact sheets for families, educational packs for children and personal development sessions for parents on how to manage their energy more effectively.

The workers are based in the Edinburgh and Glasgow but by the end of the month, they hope to educate and train colleagues in the other seven One Parent Families offices, through effective training sessions. The information will then be passed to all One Parent Families clients throughout the country, which include lone parents who are registered to the charity as well as other organisations who are working alongside single parent families. 

Advice will also be given on the advantages and disadvantages of different energy tariffs as well as a personal review on benefits to ensure that each parent is claiming all benefits they are entitled to. Children will receive packs on how to be energy efficient and help the planet by doing things such as switching TVs and computers off when not in use.

In addition, the project’s funding will provide a small amount of crisis funding to avoid family’s energy supplies being disconnected, which is more applicable especially during the cold winter months.

Sue Robertson, Director of One Parent Families, said:

“Over half of all children in poverty are in lone parent households and there are 77,000 lone parents in Scotland in receipt of benefits so our project will be able to effectively reach directly out to vulnerable people.

“We are delighted with our recent funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust and are confident that our project can make a difference to the many lives of families who are suffering from fuel poverty.”

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.

So far, the ScottishPower Energy People Trust has awarded over £4.5m to 103 projects helping over 243,000 individuals in over 105,000 households throughout Britain.

For more information contact:
Gillian Hamilton, the BIG partnership, on 0141 333 9585 / 07734 656 676 or gillian.hamilton@bigpartnership.co.uk

Note to Editors:

  • The ScottishPower Energy People Trust does not provide funding directly to individuals but provides funding to not for profit organisations which represent the vulnerable/fuel poor. People described as living in fuel poverty are those who spend more than 10% of their income on energy bills.
  • The decisions on the awards to organisations are made independent of ScottishPower by the Board of Trustees of the charity.
  • To apply for a grant from The ScottishPower Energy People Trust, log onto www.energypeopletrust.co.uk  or email enquiries@energypeopletrust.co.uk or call 0141 568 4727.
  • The ScottishPower Energy People Trust is just one of a number of ScottishPower initiatives which assist some of the UK’s most vulnerable people. As well as working closely with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, ScottishPower employs Community Liaison Officers who visit people in their homes. The energy supplier has also insulated thousands of homes across the UK through its Energy Efficiency Commitment.
  • ScottishPower had completed almost half of its Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) by the end of December 2008. This means the company will have installed energy efficiency measures equivalent to insulating over 380,000 homes across the UK. CERT - which came into effect on 1 April 2008 and is due to run until 2011 - is an obligation on energy suppliers to achieve targets for promoting reductions in carbon emissions in homes across the UK. 40% of the CERT spend is directed towards customers believed to be the most vulnerable therefore also making a contribution to eradicating fuel poverty.
  • In the Ofgem Monitoring suppliers' social programmes 2007-08 December 2008, The Energy People Trust was identified as implementing best practice by providing support to trusted third party intermediaries and organisations to target assistance to those in fuel poverty, particularly those who are the most difficult to identify and hardest-to-reach.

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