Introduction / Background
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.
THAW has been awarded European Social Fund monies of £170,000 and developed matched funding of £170,000 from 16 partnership organisations. The total budget for the period July 2017 – July 2019 is therefore £340,000 to provide services across Orkney. We have named the project:
WellBeing Orkney: helping to make a difference
THAW will provide bespoke development and support services to vulnerable individuals and families from the initial contact, throughout the process, to a resolution or agreed outcome. The project will provide on the ground assistance to households in communities that can sometimes feel excluded from mainstream support services. The project will help sustainability of communities through supporting households that are affected by debt, low income or fuel poverty.
It is evident that huge demographic change is expected in Orkney over the coming years and nowhere will these changes be more pronounced than in the outer isles. This project will assist households to remain in their homes for longer and will help sustain both the working population and the increasing retired population.
Orkney’s WellBeing project led by THAW will employ a small team within two organisations: THAW and Orkney Citizens Advice Bureau, to engage particularly vulnerable groups and to develop skills amongst people who are financially and socially excluded. The aim of this will, in time, allow improvements in their abilities to manage limited budgets and will gradually lead to improvements in respect of reduced rent arrears, fuel poverty and levels of debt. Vulnerable groups who are not engaging will be targeted, and a supportive, in-depth service will be made available to them.
THAW already has good effective reciprocal referral arrangements with many local agencies and organisations. These agencies include those operating the national and local property improvement grant schemes (Warmer Homes Scotland / HEEPS:ABS) and when appropriate referrals will be made to these agencies along with ‘household hand-holding’ support for vulnerable individuals/families.
Fundamental in the approach of the whole programme is that services will be equally available to all Orkney residents. There will be 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 will be addressing the range of issues and barriers which have prevented people’s participation in social, economic, political and cultural life.
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