Hundreds of Highland households worried about rising fuel bills and the cost of living have been given much needed support from Albyn Housing Society this winter, through the housing association’s Fuel Support Fund.
More than £85,000 worth of vouchers and equipment have been distributed to families across the area, helping their tenants to reduce their energy costs and pay their bills.
As part of the scheme, more than 300 households have been provided with £230 or more towards their energy bills.
This comes in addition to other support mechanisms, such as the £400 discount to energy bills from the UK Government over the winter months.
The funding comes from the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations who are administering the £2 million fund on behalf of the Scottish Government.
Support has been prioritised for those living in homes with the lowest energy rating. However, a portion of the fund is helping those who are most in need, regardless of their housing situation.
To help tenants reduce their overall energy usage, almost 90 energy saving cooking appliances have been distributed.
This included air fryers, slow cookers, microwaves and energy efficient kettles.
Draught proofing kits, carpets, and thermal curtains and door fittings have been provided to help keep homes warm.
More than 200 warm winter duvets have also been distributed.
Albyn Housing Society have been using the contact with tenants to highlight other sources of support too, including those provided by the Highland Council and their local Citizens Advice Bureau.
Kirsty Morrison, Group Chief Executive of Albyn Housing Society said:
“Feedback from tenants about the Fuel Support Fund has been great so far.
“I am proud of our teams at Albyn who have made sure that families across the Highlands have been getting the support they need this winter.
“In some cases, the energy bill vouchers have been allowing families to pay off their debts.
“The low energy cooking solutions have been really popular, helping households to have a hot meal at a lower cost.
“We had contact with one mum who had been very distressed about the cost of energy and providing for her children.
“As well as providing a £245 voucher for her energy bills, we were also able to supply an air fryer, a more energy efficient kettle and winter duvets for her young family.
“It is clear to us that this fund is making a real difference.
“The good news is that we still have some funding left and we are very eager to make sure this gets to households in need.
“If you are an Albyn tenant, and are needing help paying your bills, please do get in touch with us or speak with your housing officer.
“We will do our best to provide you with the support you need.”
Tenants can access this fund by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by speaking to their housing officer.