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A warmer Govan: Housing providers offer vouchers to combat fuel poverty

Three housing providers come together to offer vouchers to combat fuel poverty,

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Families in Glasgow’s Govan have been given a winter warmer with the launch of a £40,000 voucher scheme to combat fuel poverty.

Three housing associations in Govan – Linthouse, Govan and Elderpark – have come together to create the Govan Energy Advice Project. They are offering £28 and £49 top-up vouchers, primarily for people paying their energy costs through gas or electricity pre-payment meters.

Launched this month, the £40,000 funding has been secured through the Scottish Government’s Social Housing Fuel Support Fund which aims to provide practical support to social landlords' tenants in order to help them to manage or reduce their fuel costs.

“Never has it been more needed” say the associations, and the money is considered a lifeline to many individuals and families who struggle paying winter fuel bills and this is compounded by increasing energy costs.

Since the initiative was launched earlier this month, the associations said that take up has been strong. People who contact their own housing association – each organisation has appointed an energy adviser – will receive £28 for an individual or £49 for a family.

The three associations are also looking at other ways to secure other methods of funding to continuing offering help with fuel costs once the £40,000 is claimed. 

The new funding comes exactly a year after Elderpark, Govan and Linthouse benefited from investment from the UK Energy regulator OFGEM’s Energy Redress Scheme. This has helped pay for running the scheme and the appointment of the three energy advisers.

The voucher scheme is part of a wider plan of action from the housing associations to offer energy advice, deal with suppliers on behalf of customers and endeavour to help people better control their energy usage.

Between them, the three housing associations own and manage 4,060 homes across Govan and a high proportion of local residents are considered to be in fuel poverty.

A spokesperson for Elderpark, Govan and Linthouse Housing Associations said: “We recognise the very real difficulties many of our customers are facing in a time of immense challenge in paying energy bills. We are working hard to tackle fuel poverty, and the £40,000 we have obtained will turbo-charge our efforts.

“It’s worth remembering that applying for a voucher in no way affects the State benefits some people may be receiving. We strongly encourage local people who would like to take advantage of this much-needed helping hand to come forward.”

The three housing associations acknowledge the role the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations has played in the administration of the Social Housing Fuel Support Fund. 

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