Agencies from across Orkney join forces to help Orkney Folk
There is a new service in Orkney to assist and support those who are finding it hard to heat their homes, struggling with debt or are on a low income.
Local fuel poverty charity THAW Orkney, is the lead agency for the new WellBeing Orkney project which has been made possible through a £170,000 grant over two years from the European Social Fund, through Orkney Islands Council. 18 other agencies, including four Development Trusts and five Community Councils have also provided their support to make this project a reality.
THAW Manager Peter Rickard, explained:
“Through working closely with the Citizens Advice Bureau and many other agencies, the service will give personalised support to individuals and households who are finding it difficult to heat their homes or are struggling with low incomes or debt and will complement other work being undertaken by THAW to reduce fuel poverty. A recent survey indicated that the existence of THAW has enabled an estimated £600,000 to be brought into the Orkney community.”
“We are extremely grateful to all those who matched the funding for the new WellBeing Orkney project which in total will amount to £340,000 being brought into the county. For every £1 that the European Social Fund provides, this has been equally matched by our partnership agencies. Without local agencies committing their own resources to it, the new service would not have been possible.”
The agencies involved in local funding for the WellBeing Orkney Project are THAW, Orkney Islands Council, Orkney Citizens Advice Bureau, National Health Service Orkney, The Robertson Trust, The Ronald F Slater Charitable Trust, Eday Partnership, Rousay, Egilsay & Wyre, Sanday Development Trust, Stronsay Development Trust, Orkney Housing Association Ltd, Firefly Energi, S & J D Robertson Group Ltd and the Community Councils of Papay Westray, Evie and Rendall, Kirkwall and St Ola, Orphir and Shapinsay.
James Stockan, Leader of Orkney Islands Council, said:
“tackling fuel poverty is a key priority for the Council. It’s a problem that particularly affects households with low incomes trying to cope with the high cost of heating their homes. This project will provide welcome support for people in that situation and I am delighted we are supporting those efforts.”
Based at 15 Victoria Street, Kirkwall, the THAW team will be making home visits throughout the county to see how they can help and support Orkney folk. The staff will assist with energy saving and efficiency advice, energy switching, income maximisation, debt and budgeting support, advocacy and third-party support for national grant programmes and referrals to local organisations who may be able to help with other relevant support.
Orkney currently has the highest levels of fuel poverty within Scotland. The 2014 Household Condition Survey states that 63% of households are fuel poor – a figure that rises to a staggering 85% for pension households.