Thousands of older tenants in some of Scotland’s most deprived communities are receiving extra help from their housing association this Christmas.
The Wheatley Group, Scotland’s leading housing, care and property-management group, is social landlords for GHA, Cube, West Lothian Housing Partnership, Loretto and Dunedin Canmore and is to distribute £40 of food vouchers to more than 9000 tenants over the age of 70.
Tenants from the landlords’ sheltered housing complexes will also receive the vouchers, which can be redeemed at a local supermarket.
The scheme, which is part of Wheatley Group’s ‘WinterReady’ campaign, was praised by Housing Minister Margaret Burgess.
The WinterReady campaign includes a home check for over-60s and disabled people where a plumber visits and checks the central heating, pipes and draught prevention.
Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “It’s fantastic to hear about schemes like Wheatley Group’s WinterReady campaign as the Scottish Government is committed to improving the lives of older people across Scotland. We are working to tackle pensioner poverty and inequality and are doing all we can to help older Scots live healthy, active and independent lives.
The MSP added: “Over the Christmas period many older people can often find themselves worrying about rising heating costs and making ends meet. Wheatley Group’s food voucher scheme is easing some of this anxiety for tenants over 70 and their home check service for over 60s and disabled tenants is a sensible way to ensure homes are ready for the colder months.”
The vouchers can be a much-needed lifeline to tenants who are struggling to make ends meet.
Tenants of GHA, Cube, WLHP, Loretto and Dunedin Canmore who are over 70 are eligible for the vouchers are being contacted by their housing association to arrange delivery of the gift.
As well as the vouchers and the home check, tenants are also reminded to make use of Wheatley’s Handyperson Service - which helps with small jobs round the home - and the fuel advice service, which can help people save money on their heating bills.
They are also put in touch with Wheatley’s welfare benefit advisors who can help tenants claim all the benefits they are entitled to.
Wheatley staff can also help arrange a free home fire safety visit, where a Scottish Fire and Rescue officer will carry out a safety check and fit a smoke detector for tenants who don’t have one.
*The Wheatley Group spans 15 local authority areas across Central Scotland, providing homes and award-winning services to over 200,000 people.