Tackling fuel poverty to support vulnerable households reduce their bills is a key element of Greener Kirkcaldy’s, Fife Healthy Heating Network project which was awarded £177,154 through Support and Connect yesterday.
This new funding will mean that the service which not only offers energy advice, but also has a handy man service to help with the practical elements of home improvement, will run now across Fife helping more people like Marjory Forsyth of East Wemyss.
Marjory called Greener Kirkcaldy to ask for a home energy advice visit, after a friend recommended the service to her. Her 1930s house is exposed on two sides to the Firth of Forth and Marjory used to find it hard to heat which meant she was spending a high proportion of her income on gas and electricity.
She explains, “I was always spending loads of money on heating with little success; it seemed to take forever heating my house and very expensive too.”
When Greener Kirkcaldy’s Fraser Nicol carried out a visit he completed an energy survey of the building and discussed Marjory’s concerns. He quickly noted Marjory’s house had no cavity wall insulation, and only a minimal amount of loft insulation and he was able to arrange free cavity wall insulation and a loft insulation top-up to the recommended 270mm, via an energy company obligation scheme.
The other main source of heat loss for Marjory were her sash & case windows which were in poor repair and very draughty. Unfortunately Marjory didn’t qualify for the Scottish Government’s Energy Assistance Scheme, which can fund draught-proofing for people on qualifying benefits, so Fraser referred her to the Greener Kirkcaldy handy service and sash-and-case window specialist, Craig Begg.
Craig was able to fully refurbish her large bay window in the living room, and two smaller windows in her bedroom windows, adding draught-proofing and reducing heat loss. With her new insulation and revamped windows Marjory is delighted and feels confident that her energy consumption will dramatically reduce.
She adds, “I can really feel the warmth now, particularly upstairs. The house heats up more quickly and seems to keep its heat for much longer so I don’t need to have my heating on quite as much.”
Marjory’s experience is common to many people supported by Greener Kirkcaldy. Project manager Suzy Goodsir is delighted to now be able to extend their service across Fife. She says,
“We’ve run a home energy advice service in Kirkcaldy since 2010 and we’re delighted to be able to expand that to serve other parts of Fife. Our new project will be a real team effort – we’ll be working with St Andrews Environmental Network, Citizen’s Advice & Rights Fife and Fife Council‘s Fuel Poverty Officer. The project will help 1000 people to stay warm while getting their fuel bills under control.”
Greener Kirkcaldy is one of 64 projects across Scotland sharing £9.2 million announced this week. Through our Support and Connect programme the Big Lottery Fund has pledged over £19 million since March 2013 to people and communities dealing with hardship.
Here’ a full list of this week’s Support and Connect Grants for Web
For more information on all our funding programmes go to www.biglotteryfund.org.uk