Charities team up to help vulnerable survive winter…

The weather has been cold but the Island’s Footprint Trust charity has been helping fight the winter blues.

Thanks to Scottish & Southern Electric’s Free Appliance scheme the Island’s Footprint Trust charity has been able to provide 36 appliances to those on very low incomes. The National scheme has now come to an end for this financial year but will hopefully be re-launched next autumn.

IW Age Concern’s Extreme Weather Support Scheme has promoted the scheme, which led to five elderly people receiving new efficient fridge-freezers and cookers along with financial and other assistance. The Trust has visited over 100 older people during this winter period and has referred 20 of them for further help from agencies, including Age Concern. The Trust administers the ‘Surviving Winter Grant’ on the Island for the IW Community Fund. To date grants totalling over £3,000 have been awarded to pensioners on low income.

Over 30 young Island families have also benefited from the appliance scheme, thanks to referrals through IW HomeStart, Spurgeon’s Children’s Centres, Southern Housing group and Children’s Services staff. Footprint Trust staff will shortly be visiting the Children’s Centres to talk with mums and dads about other help available. The Trust has also referred people to the Island’s Foodbank and the Storeroom furniture project.

The Energetic project is funded by The ScottishPower Energy People Trust, was launched two years ago. Over 2,000 people have been assisted since the scheme started. The project has recently been visiting Spurgeon’s and Children Society run Children’s Centres and has given guidance to the parents and carers. They are now offering their free sessions to any club or organisation where parents meet up.

Speaking for the Trust Energetic project Ray Harrington-Vail said,

“During this winter we have been able to assist over 100 elderly people and about the same number of younger people, through our free home energy visits. The SSE free appliance scheme has helped relieved poverty – as the new fridge’s, cookers and washing machines are energy efficient. The scheme has also meant that young families and older people can cook a wholesome hot meal.”

“Poverty is clearly on the increase on the Isle of Wight due to the rising cost of fossil fuels, poorly insulated homes, along with low pay and high unemployment. The official statistics show these trends – our staff see it on the ground on a weekly basis…”

Free home visits are available from the Footprint Trust’s Energetic Project, along with details of free insulation for the elderly and those with young children – please call 82-22-82 or email