Introduction to THAW Orkney

THAW Orkney was established as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation in December 2014 following two workshops involving community groups and statutory organisations. This came about because there was not a coordinated approach of available services to tackle domestic fuel poverty issues holistically in the county.

THAW began as the lead agency and pivotal point of a three-way partnership involving itself, Orkney Citizens Advice Bureau and Orkney Care and Repair, but through a wider forum established support of around 30 key individuals and organisations.

THAW has as its underlying principle that input from many national and local organisations may be available, but because accessing these potential dispersed resources is left to the householder to arrange at the relevant time, they often do not materialise.

For many vulnerable householders to coordinate several organisational inputs is an impossible task and the assistance and resources available will not reach them. THAW’s approach coordinates these inputs in a non-linear manner so the maximum impact can be achieved for the benefit of the householder and thereby the most efficient use of resources by the relevant organisations. This approach, which we call the Pipeline Approach, is ‘in the background’ facilitating the relevant input at the relevant time.

Fundamental in the approach of the programme is that services are equally available to all Orkney residents. There is a strong emphasis on equalities and the inclusion of people from all protected characteristic groups namely: age; gender; ethnic origin; religion or belief; disability and sexual orientation. Essential in this is addressing the range of issues and barriers which have prevented people’s participation in social, economic, political and cultural life. 

Cosy Home Packs

We also supply Cosy Home Packs to the most vulnerable families including include single parent families, those with long term health problems and in extreme fuel poverty. 

The packs include an eco kettle, thermal blanket(s), energy saving bulbs, a halogen heater and thermal clothing. Multiple items are given depending on, for example with thermal blankets, the number of children – in a vulnerable household we’d aim at one each. 

Electricity vouchers

In collaboration with the Foodbank, we have a fund available to provide top-up electricity vouchers, which can also help clients on credit meters and who are not with SSE. 

Small Installation Grant​

In certain circumstances we can provide a small grant towards installation, repair or service to either the property itself or the property’s heating system in order to increase levels of warmth and comfort or reduce levels of fuel poverty for the household.

Aiming Beyond Cancer project

This new project is led by THAW Orkney and is aimed at householders with a cancer diagnosis. The project can provide free to the householder and landlord a new heating system, along with white goods to home owners, private tenants and social tenants.

The project is time limited, on a first-come-first-served basis. 

To be eligible, the householder has to have an active cancer diagnosis and any one of the following:

- To have a household income below the mean for the local authority area (£24,900);

- To be in receipt of benefits: Any benefit, which can include state pension;

- To spend (required to spend) more than 10% of their income to heat the home to an appropriate level (ie. 23c in the Living Room).

Our Services



We are here to help support you. If you are finding it difficult to heat your home, struggling with debt or are looking for any further assistance with energy efficiency matters then we may be able to help you. 

Our dedicated team provide a bespoke service which can involve hand holding support if required. We can also advocate and act as a third party on your behalf. To date, we have helped assist over 404 households since THAW first launched in January 2015.

helping to make a difference