Albyn’s money saving workshops save Highlanders over £16,000
A programme focusing on money saving solutions rolled out across the Highlands has helped local residents save over £16,000 in just nine months.
Hosted by Albyn Housing Society, in partnership with the Highland Council, The Libertie Project and Citizens Advice Bureau, the ‘Count Your Cash’ sessions were held at a selection of larger local events. The sessions have so far enabled around 103 people save an average of £161 by switching energy suppliers, telephone providers, other household services.
As a result of its success, the scheme is set to launch an additional programme of sessions in towns including Dingwall, Invergordon and Tain from February 2018.
Calum Macaulay, chief executive at Albyn Housing Society, said: “The ‘Count Your Cash’ workshops aim to raise awareness of the tools that are available to beat the spiralling household costs often associated with living in a rural community, as well as support those currently making the transition to Universal Credit.
“By equipping people with money management tools, we can empower them to take charge of their bills and reduce the impact they have on household budgets. This is all part of our commitment to providing services that enhance quality of life and support thriving, sustainable communities.”
Wick resident David Simpson is just one Highlander to have benefited by attending an event and seeking advice on how to lower his gas and electricity bills.
He explained: “I was previously paying £140 per month for gas and electricity – a cost that had slowly crept up over the years with my then supplier. When the advisors at ‘Count Your Cash’ learned what I was paying, they encouraged me to sit with them and do a simple comparison exercise. The results astounded both the advisors and me.
“I have lowered my gas and electricity bills by £50 to just £90 per month. I couldn’t believe it - I’m now saving £600 per year!”
Highland Council leader, Councillor Margaret Davidson, who is chair of the Poverty and Inequalities Working Group, added: “The savings that have been made at the Count Your Cash workshops have been quite eye-opening. I have no doubt that a saving of over £150 will help some of our residents in the Highlands. What’s more, by hosting events locally we can bring this fantastic service to people who might not have known about it previously.”
‘Count Your Cash’ is part of the overall ‘Money Matters Highland’ programme, which received support from the Big Lottery Fund in 2015 to provide over 2500 Highlanders with money advice.
Money Matters Highland is a project run by social housing providers servicing rural areas across Scotland; Albyn Housing Society, Pentland Housing Association, Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association, Lochaber Housing Association and Cairn Housing Association with financial support from the Highland Council.