Three Govan housing providers team up in new drive to tackle fuel poverty

Three Govan housing providers team up in new drive to tackle fuel poverty

The three community energy advisors (from left) Sharon De Meza-Dickson (Linthouse), Terry Cox (Elderpark) and Wendy Malloy (Govan)

Three housing providers have teamed up once more in the battle to tackle fuel poverty in their communities.

Linthouse, Govan and Elderpark secured £255,000 in funding to help alleviate the pressures on their tenants struggling with sky-high fuel bills.

The trio joined forces last year to launch the Govan Energy Advice Project. The initiative was so successful that £347,214 was recorded in savings for 3,313 households.

Now a new two-year funding package from Ofgem’s Energy Redress Scheme secured by the three housing associations aims to turbocharge a fresh effort to advise tenants on energy-saving tips and where necessary help alleviate crippling fuel bills.

Over the coming two years, the housing associations will identify from their list of tenants people considered to be in fuel poverty and offer a helping hand. Housing officers who are in regular contact with tenants will also help refer those in need of help.

The Energy Redress Scheme is the UK energy regulator Ofgem’s initiative which distributes money from energy providers who may have breached rules.

The £347,000 figure recorded last time around consisted of getting energy debt written off, issuing top-up fuel vouchers, and offering advice on energy efficiency.

Never has the help 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 at the worst possible time of the year.

Between them the housing associations own and manage 4060 homes and a high proportion of local residents are considered to be in fuel poverty.

The definition of fuel poverty in Scotland is if a household spends more than 10% of its income on fuel costs.

Three community energy advisors have now been appointed to run the initiative – each based at the three housing providers.

Project lead Sharon De Meza-Dickson said: “We recognise the very real difficulties many of our tenants are facing in a time of immense challenge in paying energy bills. We are working hard to tackle fuel poverty and never has there been a more important time for this vital work.

“The emphasis this time will be firmly on the education process – giving people the confidence to understand what steps to take to keep homes warm and comfortable.

“We will also be out in the community visiting people in their homes with our important energy-saving message.”

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