Scots rural charity RSABI has set aside £30,000 to help address fuel poverty.
The charity, which provides financial assistance to those who have relied on the land in Scotland, has launched the Help for Heating Fund to provide fixed grants of £300 to successful applicants.
The grants are available to anyone with a background in farming, crofting, forestry, horticulture, fish-farming, game-keeping and rural estate work, who finds themselves in fuel poverty.
Fuel poverty is when a household has to spend 10% or more of its income to maintain acceptable levels of warmth.
“Nobody should be cold in their own home this winter and if you or someone you know are worried about paying the energy bill, please call the RSABI Helpline 0300 111 4166 in confidence or visit www.rsabi.org.uk,” said RSABI’s welfare manager, John Macfarlane.
“Rural fuel poverty is consistently higher than the national average, with older people being particularly vulnerable. Whilst energy-saving initiatives and schemes help significantly, they alone do not lift people out of fuel poverty, particularly those without access to mains gas. We are determined to make warmth more affordable for anyone who qualifies for the RSABI Help for Heating Fund.”
Those who qualify for a grant will be visited by one of the charity’s case officers who will make sure they are receiving all other help that they are entitled to, including the advice available through Home Energy Scotland.
Earlier this year RSABI launched a £130,000 fund to help cover the cost of haulage of straw to the Orkney islands.
The Help for Straw Haulage fund will cover up to 50% of the haulage costs of straw to Orkney farmers, who have been battered by bad weather all year.
Meanwhile, Scotland’s largest agricultural organisation – the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland – pledged to donate £14,000 to RSABI every year for the next three years.
The funds will be used to cover the cost of running the charity’s helpline.