ScottishPower has joined forces with CLIC Sargent to launch a pilot scheme aimed at directing additional support to young cancer patients and their families who may be struggling with their energy bills.
£600 extra a month
CLIC Sargent research into the financial cost of cancer found that families are facing an increased monthly spend of £600 while a child is on treatment. Energy bills were found to be a major factor in families’ increased spending, alongside travel and food costs.
As a result of this research, ScottishPower has launched a pilot scheme in Glasgow, which will see CLIC Sargent social workers identify existing customers among families they work with who could benefit from support with their energy bills.
These customers will then be referred to a newly-formed specialist team. With knowledge of the circumstances the family is faced with, the team will carry out a full review of all their energy needs at a pace that suits them. Support offered could include ensuring they are on the best possible tariff and are accessing any funding, such as Warm Home Discount, which they may be eligible for. The team will also provide them with Energy Efficiency advice ensuring that they are achieving the maximum level of comfort in the home at the lowest possible cost.
Clare Laxton, Assistant Director of Policy and Influencing at CLIC Sargent, said: “It is fantastic that Scottish Power has reacted so positively to CLIC Sargent’s research. We don’t think it’s right or fair that any family should be facing the prospect of financial hardship while they are trying to support a young cancer patient.
“It is wonderful to see that a specialist team has been formed, meaning families can be supported with their individual, and often unique needs.
“Our research also found that only 37% of parents struggling with their bills actually contacted their energy companies to see what could be done. Therefore, it’s key that this help comes to them.
“This partnership sees ScottishPower join British Gas in recognising that families affected by childhood cancer are financially vulnerable, and we are calling on all other energy companies across the UK to follow in their footsteps.”
Joyce Brown, CLIC Sargent Social Work Leader for Glasgow, said: "Many families tell us that their energy bills shoot up when they have a child with cancer. They will be spending more time at home, using electricity, and can often be cold, meaning the heating is always running. Nausea can also lead to a lot of money being spent on washing and cleaning clothes.
"These lifestyle changes can really have an impact on monthly bills, so it will fantastic for our Glasgow teams to have another avenue of support for some families."
Ann McKechin Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at ScottishPower said: “We are pleased to be able to form this new partnership with CLIC Sargent so we can offer support to help families at a difficult time. We know that the ability to intervene early with appropriate advice can help to ease financial concerns and allow parents to rightfully concentrate on caring for their children.”
Ross Middleton's eight-year-old son, Findlay was diagnosed with cancer in 2015. His family struggled with the financial impact of the increased travel for treatment, a sharp increase in their energy bills.
“People definitely underestimate the financial impact of cancer on families. We were in survival mode.
"You just react to the things in front of you. There is no structure.
“CLIC Sargent helped us get the support we needed. They helped us get accommodation and financial help. We hadn’t considered things like DLA, but they told us they could get it and then helped with the forms.
“Anything that can offer families affected by cancer more financial support is a cause for celebration.”
CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer support charity for patients from birth to 24. It offers a wide range of support including social workers, nursing professionals and play specialists, free accommodation for families near hospitals, and financial grants.
Find out more about the charity’s campaign for greater financial support for these families.