New campaign to keep Fifers warm this winter

Fifers are being helped to stay warm this winter.
Fifers are being helped to stay warm this winter.

Fifers are being urged to dig deep to help vunerable people across the Kingdom stay warm this winter.

Greener Kirkcaldy has teamed up with St Andrews Environmental Network to appeal for donations to help needy people who will struggle to keep warm over the next few months. They have started a ‘Help Fuel Fife Folk’ campaign which is being launched as part of Challenge Poverty Week (October 1 - 7), a national initiative co-ordinated by The Poverty Alliance.

People can book a home energy visit so they can learn ways to save energy and money.

People can book a home energy visit so they can learn ways to save energy and money.

Campaign organisers are asking for donations to help fund measures to support those who struggle to pay their bills and heat their homes this winter.

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Members of the Greener Kirkcaldy team outside the High Street Hub. Pic credit: Fife Photo Agency.

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The move comes as figures from the Scottish Government show that 35 per cent of households in Fife are classed as living in fuel poverty, spending more than 10 per cent of their annual income trying to heat their homes. For some people this can mean choosing between cooking hot meals and keeping their homes warm.

Greener Kirkcaldy and St Andrews Environmental Network are aiming to raise awareness of the services they offer to help people stay cosy when the temperatures drop.

Bruce McCall, project manager, said: “Simply keeping warm in winter is a challenge for many people in Fife who are already struggling to afford expensive fuel bills.

“For some people they are having to make the choice between heating their homes or having hot meals. Or some are finding that by the time they have paid for food they just don’t have enough money left to pay for heating.

“We can go out and visit people in their homes, do an assessment and offer advice on how they can be more energy efficient at home and save money.

“This could be impartial advice on switching suppliers or carrying out simple measures like only half filling kettles, and keeping doors closed.”

When Greener Kirkcaldy and St Andrews Environmental Network first started offering home energy visits in 2009 they were helping vulnerable Fifers in 300 homes and this year, due to the scheme’s popularity, they are supporting 2000 householders.

Bruce continued: “Universal Credit has had a great impact in Fife with people waiting up to six weeks to get any money which affects how they pay for heating. This is why we are appealing for donations to give help to those who need it the most.”

Stay warm ... save energy

Greener Kirkcaldy and St Andrews Environmental Network work to help people stay warm, save energy and save money.

Last year they helped over 1800 households in Fife by visiting people in their homes and providing free, impartial energy advice.

Any donations provided will allow them to offer extra support to help those in need stay warm over the winter, by providing measures such as low-energy electric heaters, electric blankets, thermal curtains, radiator panels and emergency fuel top ups.

Donations are being sought to help vulnerable people like Betty, an elderly woman living in a sheltered housing flat in Fife. Her home was very cold and draughty and she had no credit left on her prepayment meter. She was very distressed as she would not receive her pension for a few days so was unable to top up.

But Greener Kirkcaldy was able to step in and offer Betty an emergency top up to keep her going until she received her pension.

They also provided thermal curtains to help keep the heat in, and some reflective radiator panels to push heat back into the room from the radiators.

Bruce said: “This campaign appeals to all ages – vulnerability is not age specific.

“We support people who can be vulnerable through ill health, through being out of work or other circumstances. “

He said any donations, however large or small, will help to ensure those in need stay warm over the winter. For example, people who receive the Winter Fuel Payment but may not need it, are invited to consider donating it.

HOW TO DONATE:

People can make a donation by visiting: www.greenerkirkcaldy.org.uk/fuel.
Send a cheque made payable to ‘Greener Kirkcaldy’, Greener Kirkcaldy, 252a High Street, Kirkcaldy, KY1 1LA or telephone (01592) 858458.