Energy firm hands children’s charity £370,000 to help families in crisis

Gas distribution network SGN has handed the charity Children 1st £370,000 to help families struggling to pay their utility bills amid the cost-of-living crisis.

The funding will see Children 1st deploy energy advisors across Glasgow and Ayrshire to support families with issues around managing emerging costs and budgeting.

They will also help families who are in debt to energy firms and help them find better tariffs. In addition, emergency support will also be provided to families “in urgent need”, said SGN.

The charity estimates families will be saved £1m through the initiative.

SGN was previously Scotia Gas Networks and manages gas distribution in Scotland and the south of England.

Amid the cost-of-living crisis utility bills have rocketed for UK households amid concerns around increasing profits among energy firms.

According to its 2023 annual report SGN operating profit in 2023 was £439.5m, up £75.2m on the previous year.

Its figures for 2023 also revealed a 48.3% increase in customer complaints over the same period.

Children 1st is reporting some families are cutting off their energy supplies as the costs are too high.

“We are glad to see this vital investment being made in our financial wellbeing service,” said Children 1st.

“Children are already at a disproportionately higher risk of poverty as a result of the cost-of-living crisis. It is now one of the biggest issues we are dealing with for children. We have a proven track record of supporting children and families.

“Last year, our financial wellbeing service helped over 1,400 children by generating more than £1.5 million in unclaimed benefits for their families.

“Children sleep better, they are healthier, they can concentrate better at school and their development is better supported if their families are able to pay the rent, put food on the table and keep their homes warm.”

Margaret Hamilton, community partnership manager in SGN’s Social Impact & Vulnerability Team, added: “We’re proud to be supporting Children 1st in their ambition to make sure every Scottish child can live safe and well in their homes.

“Helping them to fund more expert advisors means families in Scotland are able to benefit from their knowledge and guidance, allowing more children to stay safe and warm.”

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