Fuel and food vouchers to help older people stay warm and well through winter
A new emergency energy and food voucher initiative to support Scotland’s most vulnerable older people this winter has been launched by Age Scotland in partnership with SGN.
The charity is hearing first-hand about the impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on older people, especially those living in fuel poverty who are worried about turning on their heating.
Age Scotland has also identified those who are skipping meals and eating cold food for fear of falling into debt due to the rising cost of living.
Through the charity’s free national helpline, expert advisers will identify those most in need in order to provide crisis support.
This new initiative, supported by SGN through an ongoing partnership with the charity, will enable Age Scotland energy specialists to offer older people struggling a £30 credit towards their fuel costs, or food costs. They will also provide access to the charity’s support services, including energy advice and income maximisation to help older people use energy safely, affordably and efficiently.
The initiative is open to those aged 50 and over who are registered to a Scottish postal address and eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Age Scotland’s chief executive, Katherine Crawford, said: “The rising cost of living is one of the biggest concerns for older people who call our helpline, especially during the colder months. Our Big Survey revealed that 79% of over 50s were cutting back on energy and heating, while 43% reported reducing spending on food.
“Staying warm and eating well is central to older people’s health and wellbeing but, with so many struggling to make ends meet, it’s vital they have somewhere to turn for support.
“We’re incredibly grateful to SGN for this partnership and their ongoing commitment to ensuring older people across Scotland are able to stay safe and warm at home.
“This welcome initiative will make a positive difference to those who are reluctant or unable to heat their homes to a comfortable level for fear of running up unmanageable energy bills or falling into debt, or who are at risk of malnutrition due to skipping meals or eating less healthily.
“By continuing this vital partnership work, we will be able to reach even more people in need of support this winter and beyond.”
Director of customer services at SGN, Maureen McIntosh, said: “Our partnership with Age Scotland will make a real difference this winter to over 1000 older people who are struggling to stay warm and well at home. This much needed crisis funding will provide immediate essential warmth along with specialist support to help increase their household income and use energy at home more affordably.”