Trust’s Funding Brings Hope On Fuel Poverty

Mayor Anderson with Ann Loughrey (left) and Carol Dunne of ScottishPower Energy People’s Trust.
A NEW initiative to help people out of fuel poverty could reach more than 1000 Liverpool residents in the next year – and bring in hundreds of thousands of pounds in financial benefits. The initiative is being funded through the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, an independent charity which provides funding to registered charities to help vulnerable and disadvantaged people out of fuel poverty. The Trust is providing a £50,000 grant to the Mayor’s Hope Fund which was set up to prevent or relieve poverty in Liverpool. In the next year the city council’s Healthy Homes team will work with local families on the new scheme. Qualified energy advisors will work with vulnerable people to help them reduce their energy costs including switching to cheaper tariffs and by maximising all income benefits due to them. While more than 1000 people could be given advice, 150 of the worst hardship cases will benefit from direct support through works carried out in their home such as repairs to boilers and radiators, gas safety checks, whole house draft-proofing and the installation of LED light bulbs. It is estimated that this move will deliver financial benefits for local people of about £300,000 in the next year. Ann Loughrey, Company Secretary and Trustee, ScottishPower Energy People Trust, said: “The Trust is pleased to be working with the Liverpool Mayor’s Hope Fund to help the team there deliver a really beneficial project that helps some of the most vulnerable families across Liverpool”. The Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “This is fantastic news for those people in the city finding it harder and harder to pay their energy bills. It’s great that the Mayors Hope Fund and the ScottishPower Energy People’s Trust are playing a significant role in pulling together partners to tackle causes of fuel poverty and to help the most vulnerable.” Councillor Jane Corbett, Liverpool City Council Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Fairness and Equalities said: “Tackling poverty is a priority for the city and fuel poverty is an important part of that. This funding will help make a real difference. There are thousands of people across the city struggling to make ends meet due to the government’s so-called austerity programme, and it’s good to see a business such as ScottishPower working with us to address the impact of this programme on many people’s- including our children –lives.” To be eligible you must own the house you live in; the property must have inadequate heating and/or insulation, and the household will need to be in receipt of benefits or low income and able to work with our advisers to demonstrate that your heating bills are taking an unfair proportion of your income.  A low income for these purposes can range from £10,000 for a single adult no children to £28,000 for a household of two adults with four children If you think you may be eligible or someone you know may be eligible contact HealthyHomesProgramme@liverpool.gov.uk,   0800 0121 754.  Trained advisers will respond to all enquiries. Tenants in private rented properties should approach their landlord first; if you are on certain qualifying benefits your landlord may qualify for Energy Company Obligation (ECO) support towards the replacement of the boiler and insulation.