Energy boost for Govan as three housing providers join forces to tackle fuel poverty
Families in Glasgow’s Govan have been given a winter warmer with the launch of a £40,000 voucher scheme to combat soaring fuel bills.
Three housing associations in Govan – Linthouse, Govan and Elderpark have come together to create the Govan Energy Advice Project.
They are offering £28 and £49 top-up vouchers primarily for people paying their energy costs through gas or electricity pre-payment meters.
Launched this month, the £40,000 has been secured through the Scottish Government’s Social Housing Fuel Support Fund which aims to provide practical support to social landlords’ tenants in order to help them to manage or reduce their fuel costs.
Never has it been more needed say the Associations and the money is considered a lifeline to many individuals and families who face a struggle paying winter fuel bills – compounded by increasing energy costs at the worst possible time of the year.
Since the initiative was launched earlier this month take up has been very strong. People who get in touch with their own housing association – which has each appointed an energy advisor – will receive £28 for an individual or £49 for a family.
While the £40,000 will inevitably run out, the three Associations are also looking at other ways to secure other methods of funding to continuing offering help with fuel costs.
The new funding comes exactly a year after Elderpark, Govan and Linthouse benefited from a cash windfall from the UK Energy regulator Ofgem’s energy redress scheme. This has helped pay for running the scheme and the appointment of the three Energy Advisors – one at each Association.
The voucher scheme is part of a wider plan of action from the housing associations to offer energy advice, deal with suppliers on behalf of customers and endeavour to help people better control their energy usage.
Between them, the three housing associations own and manage 4060 homes across Govan and a high proportion of local residents are considered to be in fuel poverty.
A spokesperson for Elderpark, Govan and Linthouse Housing Associations said: “We recognise the very real difficulties many of our customers are facing in a time of immense challenge in paying energy bills. We are working hard to tackle fuel poverty and the £40,000 we have obtained will turbo-charge our efforts.
“It’s worth remembering that applying for a voucher in no way affects the State benefits some people may be receiving. We strongly encourage local people who would like to take advantage of this much-needed helping hand to come forward.”
The three housing associations acknowledged the important role the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations has played in the administration of the Social Housing Fuel Support Fund.