Affordable Warmth charity THAW Orkney wants to assure clients past and present that none of the financial support that the charity has secured for them will have to be paid back at any time.
Manager Robert Leslie said:
“Some staff have heard these concerns from clients following last week’s announcement of the 54% energy price cap hike. This may have resulted from the fact that the UK Government scheme to offer a £200 loan through energy bills later this year means households will have to pay back the entire amount over the next five years.
“However, we can assure folk that none of the emergency energy funding secured for them by THAW Orkney staff will ever have to be repaid.”
And even if folk have had support from THAW Orkney in the past, Mr Leslie stressed that new support available might mean folk could benefit from help if they contact the charity again.
Depending on eligibility, THAW Orkney currently has access to emergency electricity and fuel support from several sources, including the Scottish Government’s Home Heating Support Fund, from which staff have secured awards worth almost £23,000 for clients since it opened in December. The average award from this fund has been almost £500, but in some instances four figure sums have wiped out debt for households and given them some additional ‘breathing space’.
In addition to this, Orkney Islands Council recently awarded THAW Orkney just over £41,000 of Scottish Government flexible funding to distribute to folk in fuel poverty.
Robert Leslie said:
“We are using this to enhance payments to clients who qualify for three different electricity voucher schemes we have access to. It means that £50 payments are added to Fuel Bank Foundation vouchers, worth £49, and also £50 to any Orkney Foodbank electricity voucher we issue. Alongside these is a new Child Poverty electricity voucher, which was due to be limited to 100 payments of £30, but we have been able to increase this by £90 using the Scottish Government funds from OIC, to make payments of £120 to families.”
THAW Orkney has already secured over £109,000 in support for clients in the three months since 1st November 2021, a 99% increase on last year’s figure of £54,918, which itself was exceptional due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Emergency energy support and Warm Home Discount awards are up 293%, from £11,473 to £45,133 over the same period.
The charity has also just taken delivery of new Cosy Home Pack stock, paid for from the flexible funding and other donations, including from St Andrews Primary School.
The Home Heating Support Fund is open until 31st March, and the £41,000 flexible funding also has to be spent by then, but many other funds are open ended.
Link: THAW Orkney