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Utilita ‘Community Fund’ Powers Borders Community Food Hub

Utilita ‘Community Fund’ Powers Borders Community Food Hub

Eildon Group is delighted to hear that it has been successful in its application for funds from the ‘Community Fund’ from Utilita – a leading smart Pay as You Go Energy provider – to support ongoing work at its Borders Community Food Hub.

At the start of the pandemic in 2020, the Eildon Group with support from Scottish Borders Council, linked up with the homelessness charity Cyrenians (which acts as the FareShare franchise for Central and South East Scotland) to collectively distribute much needed food supplies to foodbanks and community groups in the Scottish Borders.

The distribution hub operates out of Eildon’s office in Selkirk and supports the excellent work already being undertaken by local organisations, such as food banks and resilience groups which are all under pressure in the current climate. The creation of the hub has meant Eildon staff taking on additional new roles to help with the response and involves regular trips to the Cyrenians depot in Leith, Edinburgh, to collect much needed supplies.

Eildon’s CEO, Nile Istephan, said: “We are delighted to learn that we have been successful in our bid for funding from Utilita’s Community Fund and have been awarded £1,656. The Utilita Community Fund is a bespoke fund designed to help support tenants and their communities and this money will do exactly that, allowing us to keep the food hub running and help those most in need reach supplies of essential foods and clothing.”

“In the last year, staff at the Eildon Food Hub have picked up and distributed 140 tonnes of food, clothing and toiletries and have covered over 10,000 miles to reach out regularly to 16 organisations across the whole of the Borders region. Since the start of the third lockdown, demand unfortunately is on the increase and has risen to the highest it has ever been. Rural communities can be isolated from the major towns and distribution links so it is encouraging to know Eildon’s Food Hub is playing a key part in getting much needed support to communities and households across the Borders.”

Bill Bullen, Environmentalist and CEO of Utilita, said: “We’re pleased that Eildon Group is putting the Community Fund towards supporting the Borders Community Food Hub. With around two million UK households having used a foodbank in the UK in 2020 – an extra 300,000 more than in 2019 – the financial support will help deliver meals for families and individuals experiencing poverty during the pandemic.”

As a direct response to the Coronavirus pandemic, Utilita – the only energy company created to help households use less energy – introduced measures to reassure and promote a ‘worry-free’ experience for all customers, especially those experiencing hardship or vulnerability. In 2020 alone, Utilita issued £8.5m in account credits at zero interest for customers facing financial difficulty through its ‘Power Up’ feature in the My Utilita app, or via a customer call. Utilita’s dedicated Extra Care Team has also called every customer aged 80 and over to advise them on all the ways to top-up and stay on supply.

Central to helping people save money is the Utilita Energy High 5 movement, which enables every household to use around £163 less energy each year by making five free and easy-to-follow changes at home. More than two million households have engaged with the movement so far – every household can benefit – not just Utilita customers, to start saving today. Find out more: www.utilita.co.uk/energyhigh5

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