Director of Housing, Beverley Graham, explains ‘Fuel poverty is a real and persistent problem in Fife and our Housing Officers are dealing with an increasing number of tenants who are struggling to pay their rent and bills.
The Big IDEA (Income, Debt, Energy Advice) project will take a holistic person-centred approach to support individuals, households and families, offering energy advice and income maximisation together to increase tenant income, promote financial inclusion and support them out of poverty.’
In-depth advice and one-to-one support will be provided through telephone advice, virtual appointments, home visits and workshops. In addition, a programme of outreach work, events and training will be delivered to reach those households who will most benefit from the project. These sessions will cover basic household money management and information about the sources of advice and support available.
Financial advice will also be available through two new Income Maximisation Officers who will provide information and advice on all aspects of welfare rights, offer benefit assessments and tax credit checks to maximise income, give debt advice, support participants to apply for eligible benefits and help with benefit appeals.
Local charity, Greener Kirkcaldy’s Cosy Kingdom Energy Advisors will offer advice tailored to each household’s needs, helping them to stay warm and get energy bills under control and providing a single point of contact for Housing Officers to make referrals.
In addition, the project will train Housing Officers and volunteers to enable them to spot and refer people for support, act as project champions, engage their peers, promote climate awareness and act as trusted local connectors in the community.
The Big IDEA project, running from 2023-2026, will also increase community resilience and raise awareness of the climate emergency, highlighting practical steps people can take to reduce their carbon footprint.