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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 228

Date:- 28 November 2005

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Utility Trust Funds, Helping People to Stay Warm this Winter

WITH the onset of winter weather and especially during this current cold snap,  many people are concerned about how they can keep warm and healthy. If you or somebody you know - perhaps a relative, friend or neighbour - is anxious about
how to afford winter fuel bills, there are a number of different schemes available to help including a grant from a utilities trust fund.

These trust funds are independent charitable organisations that exist to clear the electricity or gas debts of people who can demonstrate a genuine need and who are current customers of certain donating companies. And a grant could make the difference between keeping the heating on and being forced to turn it off this winter.

A single organisation - Charis Grants - manages two of the largest trust funds of their kind in the country, awarding millions of pounds each year to tens of thousands of people most in need. Grants are available through Charis from the British Gas Energy Trust (funded by British Gas for domestic customers of either British or Scottish Gas) and the EDF Energy Trust (funded by EDF Energy for
domestic customers of EDF Energy, SWEB Energy, Seeboard Energy and London Energy).

Head of Operations at Charis, Des Scott, said:- "A significant amount of money is available to eligible people across the country to help clear gas and electricity debts, and this is never more important than during periods of poor weather. Grants are not loans, do not need to be repaid, and really do enable people to keep their heating switched on, to stay warm and to stay healthy".

Further information about these trust funds and how to apply for help is available from the Charis information line on 01733 421050 or from the Charis web site at www.charisgrants.com.

And for people who are not eligible for help from one of these trust funds, both EDF Energy and British Gas offer special tariff schemes, the details of which can be obtained direct from the companies themselves.

WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP TO DEVELOP A SENSIBLE APPROACH TO ALCOHOL

THE North West is to host a National conference, which will focus on the impact of alcohol on modern society and highlight ways in which different agencies and organisations can work together to encourage sensible, social drinking practices across the UK.

The vast majority of British people enjoy alcohol in a social environment and recognise that when used in moderation it is an important part of our Culture. But for others, alcohol misuse is a very real problem, costing the British economy an estimated £20bn a year.

In order to promote sensible, social drinking and discourage chronic or binge drinking a complex partnership approach is required at all levels. This one-day conference sets out to highlight and develop partnerships between NHS organisations (treatment and prevention), local authorities, the drinks industry, police, education and community services to support local communities and individuals in promoting a sensible approach to alcohol consumption.

Wendy Meredith, Director of Public Health at Central Cheshire PCT will Chair the proceedings. There will be keynote presentations from Professor Mark Bellis (Director of Centre for Public Health & North West Public Health Observatory), Lee le Clercq (the British Beer and Pub Association), Don Lavoie (the Department of Health) and Charlotte Billington (Cumbria and Lancashire Strategic Health Authority. There will also be a choice of workshop sessions presented by organizations and agencies including the Portman Group, the Manchester City Centre Safe Initiative, Lancaster University, Merseycare/ the Windsor Clinic, NUS Services Ltd and Healthworks.

The conference will take place at the LACE Conference Centre, Sefton Park, Liverpool on Thursday 15 December, 9.15 am to 4.15 pm. More information is available from www.eventsnorthern.co.uk or by calling 01772 336 639.

Click on for this weeks top property links and deals.   With thanks to Peter Browns of Southport  and Anthony James of Southport.

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