Cunninghame Housing Association (CHA) has announced that its Lemon Aid fuel poverty teams secured £648,168 worth of financial savings and debt reduction for North Ayrshire residents in the year 2018/19.
The teams secured more than £1.8 million in financial savings across North Ayrshire, East Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway.
Lemon Aid aims to address fuel poverty experienced by the most vulnerable residents. The teams work on a one-to-one basis directly with clients, often in their own homes and deliver a holistic 360-degree service working with established partners in care, support and financial inclusion, looking at all aspects relating to energy and fuel poverty.
The teams of advisors provide:
Home visits to vulnerable residents experiencing or at risk of fuel poverty, providing them with a full range of advice;
A hand-holding fuel switching service to break through the fear of switching that many vulnerable and fuel poor tenants have, securing cheaper tariffs and genuine financial savings for fuel poor households;
Advocacy services including negotiating with energy suppliers and other agencies to write off debts and secure grants and other resources to maximise disposable income.
The teams target fuel poor households in North and East Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway. Many clients also experience issues such as debt problems, poor mental or physical health, homelessness, chaotic lifestyles, addiction problems and tenancy sustainment issues.
Based on the impact the Lemon Aid service has made to the lives of vulnerable people, the SNP Government recently awarded an additional £85,442 from its Investing in Communities Fund to support North Ayrshire Lemon Aid until 31 January 2021. East Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway also received further allocations.
SNP-led East Ayrshire Council provided an additional £10,000 to its local Lemon Aid team.
Frank Sweeney, CEO of the Cunninghame Housing Association Group of Companies, said:
“We are absolutely delighted to secure the support of the SNP Government and East Ayrshire Council. Funding such as this is absolutely crucial in enabling us to increase disposable income in fuel poor households and reduce the number of local residents cutting back on food, clothes and bill payments to pay for fuel.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“Those who work at Lemon Aid positively change people’s lives across North Ayrshire on a daily basis and they clearly do it with great care and enthusiasm. Their efforts are not only helpful to help people improve their financial situation; this service also helps prevent people from lapsing into poverty and has become absolutely vital.
“I am delighted that CHA’s application to the SNP Government’s Investing in Communities Fund has once again been successful.”
Over the past five years, Lemon Aid teams have achieved financial savings and debt reduction of £5,396,087 for clients.
For more information on Lemon Aid and other services by Citrus Energy, CHA's energy advice arm, visit their website.