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Hundreds of Albyn tenants in Highlands to receive bills support over winter


By Philip Murray

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Albyn says the funding will help with 600 households' heating bills.
Albyn says the funding will help with 600 households' heating bills.

The biggest provider of affordable homes in the Highlands has secured heating bills support for hundreds of its tenants to help them with winter costs.

Tenants of Albyn Housing Society who are at risk of fuel crisis this winter will be given extra support to pay their bills.

The social housing provider, which manages around 3800 homes in 70 communities across the Highlands, has successfully secured funding of more than £90,000 as part of the Social Housing Fuel Support Fund. This is the second year Albyn has been able to secure this funding.

The £90,000 secured means that Albyn will be able to support tenants who are known to live in homes that cost more to heat and will target tenants who work but are on low incomes. The level of support secured through the fund means 600 households will receive help of £150. In the most extreme cases, housing officers may be able to provide more support.

Chief Executive of Albyn Housing Society, Kirsty Morrison, says this support is vital as the weather starts to get colder again.

Kirsty Morrison, group chief executive of Albyn Housing Society, said: “Although the pressure on energy bills has subsided somewhat, they are still at historically high levels. Inflation also remains high.

“This means that thousands of families across the Highlands will have to choose between heating and eating again this winter. The pressure on rural households is especially acute given that many families do not have access to mains gas and rely on alternatives such as heating oil which are known to have considerable price fluctuations. We are also at the mercy of harsher temperatures and weather conditions in this part of the country.

“The cash grant will be a huge help to families struggling over the colder months. The funding will specifically target those who are working but are on lower incomes. These groups often fall between the cracks of other support available.

Some of Albyn's most recently completed housing, which is located at Dalmore, Alness.
Some of Albyn's most recently completed housing, which is located at Dalmore, Alness.

“However, we completely understand that it won’t be a silver bullet. That is why our teams and expert energy advisers will be on hand to provide as much support as possible and help our tenants receive the help they need.

“Tenants don’t need to do anything and Albyn will make contact with those who meet the funding criteria directly. Of course, if anyone is struggling they should contact the Tenancy Sustainment Team for details of other support available.”

Administered by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, the support fund is made possible through funding from the Scottish Government. Albyn Housing Society secured £91,817 in total which will be used to support tenants between now and the end of March.

This assistance for tenants is part of a wider package of support that Albyn has secured since the beginning of the cost-of-living crisis. The housing association has been supporting its customers with £140,000 per year of internal funds in a bid to alleviate rising costs. Last winter, Albyn also secured external funding to provide tenants with energy saving products such as slow cookers and draught excluders, and financial support for paying energy bills.

Alongside Changeworks and Cairn Housing Association, Albyn is also providing expert energy advice to tenants over the winter. To help them make the best of their heating system, expert energy advisers provide support and advice to people living in Albyn properties right across the Highlands.

Albyn has more than 90 employees with offices in Invergordon and Inverness.


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