THOUSANDS of vulnerable youngsters across Scotland, will have their lives improved, thanks to a funding boost to a national fuel poverty initiative.
Energy Action Scotland (EAS) and National Energy Action (NEA), received a £60,000 grant from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust to fund a three year project called Warmer, Healthier Children.
From August, the project will fund vital training sessions on fuel poverty issues to a wide range of agencies working with vulnerable families and children. Over 11,000 families across Britain will benefit.
The project will work with family agencies such as SureStart and single parent support groups, disability organisations, and young people’s peer groups. It aims to enable agency workers to communicate energy efficiency issues effectively, raising awareness and understanding of the impact of poor housing conditions on the health of children and young people.
Ann Loughrey, ScottishPower’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and The ScottishPower Energy People Trust’s Company Secretary said:
“NEA’s work has already made a huge difference to the lives of many across England, through its previous project – SMILE (Supporting More Independent Lives for Everyone) – which ScottishPower supported with £70,000 grant funding. We are delighted that it has joined forces with EAS on a project that will reach out to children within Scotland as well, with the Warmer, Healthier Children project.
“Fuel poverty affects millions of households across the country so any assistance we can provide through our Trust is essential. By providing vital training on advising how to avoid fuel poverty is an effective method of reducing the issue – especially when it’s directed towards organisations, like SureStart, who work closely with vulnerable people.”
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.
Cold, damp homes affect children’s health increasing the risk of common ailments like colds and flu, respiratory infections such as bronchitis, as well as making them more vulnerable to allergies. Cold homes also increase the time taken to recover from other illnesses so that children may be absent from school/ nursery more often, affecting their education and development.
Living in fuel poverty causes excessive stress for both children and adults and can lead to long-term depression and anxiety.
Norman Kerr, Director, Energy Action Scotland said:
“With an estimated 67,000 families with children living in fuel poverty in Scotland*, and with the Scottish Government’s Energy Assistance Package now open to some families with very young or disabled children, it is important that we ensure that help gets to those who need it most.
“Through this project, Energy Action Scotland aims to give training to support workers that will better equip them to help families avoid the misery of living in cold, damp homes.”
The advice given will range from help on grant availability and energy efficiency schemes, the effects on health of living in cold, damp homes, tips on energy efficiency and what to do if you get into fuel debt.
For more information contact:
Gillian Hamilton, at The BIG Partnership, on 0141 333 9585 / 07734 656 676 or email email@example.com
Note to Editors:
ScottishPower has published its CSR Annual Review 2008 online. Following feedback from its stakeholders, this year’s Review is very much led by the community groups ScottishPower works with. To hear first hand from them as they tell their story about working with the company, tune in to ScottishPower’s innovative CSR TV station at: www.scottishpowercsrannualreview.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
So far, the ScottishPower Energy People Trust has awarded almost £5.5m to 116 projects helping over 391,000 individuals in over 243,000 households throughout Britain.
*Source: Scottish House Condition Survey Revised Key Findings 2007
EAS notes to Editors:
Energy Action Scotland is the national charity which campaigns for an end to fuel poverty and works to promote warm, dry homes for all in Scotland.
The Energy Assistance Package, funded by the Scottish Government, is a holistic package to help maximise incomes, reduce fuel bills and improve the energy efficiency of homes.