Osprey tenants benefit from £87,500 in hardship support

Gavin Emslie, of Ballater house furnishing and floor covering specialists Edward J Emslie, with Osprey tenant Elizabeth Bloor, and Elaine, Bowie, Osprey tenant support officer. Edward J Emslie is one of several retailers who have recently delivered flooring to Osprey tenants across the north-east of Scotland as part of the Scottish government's Winter Hardship Fund programme.

OSPREY Housing tenants across the north-east of Scotland are benefitting from funding totalling more than £87,500 made available by the Scottish government to help alleviate financial hardship driven by rising living costs.

Managed by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations and distributed by Osprey, support from the Social Housing Fuel Support Fund and the Winter Hardship Fund was spread across a range of needs. 

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The social landlord currently owns and manages more than 1,800 properties across Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City, and Moray. 

Osprey Director of Housing Services Dan Thompson said: ‘The cost-of-living crisis has had a significant impact on many of our tenants and we welcome this funding from the Scottish government which has enabled us to assist those most in need. 

‘Through a series of mailshots, personal letters, email, and social media posts we were able to contact a wide and diverse range of our tenant base to make them aware of the available funding and how to access it.’

What quickly emerged was the number of tenants eligible for Winter Hardship Fund energy efficiency support and Osprey was able to deliver £10,000-worth of flooring — carpets and vinyl — as well as a further £7,000-worth of thermal curtains, duvets, bedding sets, and even onesies. 

Mr Thompson said: ‘Requests for flooring were particularly high with many applicants having no floor coverings at all within their properties. We focussed additional resources in this area as the need was so great.’ A further £5,000 of Osprey’s own 2022-23 flooring fund was used to complete this project.

He added: ‘We used local fitters in four different areas for the flooring installation, so helping support the local economy as well.’  

Among those to benefit is Deeside-born Elizabeth Bloor, who has recently returned to the area with her three children, 16-year-old JJ, Holly,13, and William,10.

‘William has Duchenne’s disease, and we had been trying to move back to be closer to family since he was born,’ said Ms Bloor. ‘We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve had from Osprey during the past challenging months — including much-needed carpeting in our new home.’

Fuel funding top-ups and gas and electricity smart vouchers accounted for £42,000 from the Social Housing Fuel Support Fund, with those in rural oil-heated Osprey properties together receiving a further £15,000.

Osprey also supplied microwaves, slow cookers, and air fryers in a further funding allocation worth £11,700 from the fuel support fund to help tenants reduce the cost of preparing meals.

Standalone support for food vouchers was also awarded in addition to the initial £87,500 — with just four weeks in which to redeem it. Mr Thompson said: ‘In that very tight window, we were able to distribute all of the nearly £25,000 received.’ 

A total of 178 households received the food vouchers, while a total of 345 other Osprey households comprising 559 adults and 397 children were supported through the other funds between January and March this year. 

Mr Thompson said: ‘Our teams worked tirelessly to first ensure tenants knew this much-needed funding was available and then to distribute it within the timeframes we were given, and we have had incredibly positive feedback from tenants. 

‘Through the distribution of these funds we have gained a better understanding of our tenants’ particular needs and where we can focus resources in the future, be that through grant funding or internal budgets.’

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