New project aims to help families meet heating costs

The Warm Start scheme aims to help young families stay warm this winter.

The Warm Start scheme aims to help young families stay warm this winter.

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A new project has been launched Angus-wide to help young families cope with the costs of heating their homes this winter.

Run by the Angus Citizens Advice Bureau and Home-Start Angus and funded by the Scottish Power Energy People Trust, the ‘Warm Start’ project is aimed at families with young children who are struggling to manage all their bills

Project worker Gael Cameron, who is based in Arbroath, is offering home visits to help families maximise their income, understand and manage their heating systems, ensure they are on the best tariff and access grants and other practical help.

This is in addition to providing a general advice service covering all areas of concern. Gael will also be talking to groups of young parents covering general topics including energy efficiency measures, housing rights and welfare benefits.

She said: “We know how hard many families struggle to cope on low, and often insecure, incomes. Constantly having to decide whether to pay bills or put food on the table causes stress and anxiety for many who are bringing up young children.”

Kathy Anderson, Angus CAB’s joint head of service, also said that as well as minimising stress on young families, the service will help to ensure they are accessing all the money they are entitled to and that they are, where possible, living in energy-efficient homes.

She added: “By working in close partnership with Home-Start Angus and other local organisations working with young families we hope to be able to provide a service to those families most in need throughout Angus.”

Julie Thomson, Home-Start Angus manager, said the project recognises the importance of providing the confidential service in family homes.

She said: “Many parents lack the confidence or are unable to arrange childcare to enable them to attend appointments outside the home. The Warm Start project and the support Gael offers have been received with great enthusiasm already by families involved with our organisation.”