Winter farming landscape© FLPA/Wayne-Hutchinson/Rex Shutterstock

A Scottish rural charity has launched a Help for Heating Fund worth £30,000 to help farmers struggling to stay warm in the winter.

“Don’t sit in the cold at home this winter” is the RSABI’s (formerly the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution) campaign message.

The charity is offering fixed grants of £300 to anyone in fuel poverty who has a background in farming, crofting, forestry, horticulture, fish farming, gamekeeping and rural estate work.

See also: Farmer’s daughter taking part in Children in Need challenge

RSABI’s occupational criteria states applicants must have worked full-time on the land in Scotland for at least 10 years or for the majority of their working lives.

Fuel poverty is classed as when a household has to spend 10% or more of its income to maintain acceptable levels of warmth.

Farming helpline numbers

  • RSABI 0300 111 4166
  • RABI 0808 281 9490
  • Farming Community Network 03000 111 999

“Rural fuel poverty is consistently higher than the national average, with older people being particularly vulnerable,” said RSABI welfare manager, John Macfarlane, who oversees the Help for Heating Fund.

“Whilst energy-saving initiatives and schemes help significantly, they alone do not lift people out of fuel poverty, particularly those without access to mains gas.

“We are determined to make warmth more affordable for anyone who qualifies for the RSABI Help for Heating Fund.”

“Nobody should be cold in their own home this winter,” says Mr Macfarlane.

RSABI are urging people who are worried about paying the energy bill, or who know someone that is, to call the RSABI helpline on 0300 111 4166 in confidence or visit RSABI’s website to find out more and download an application form.

All those who qualify for a grant are visited by one of RSABI’s case officers who will make sure that they are receiving all other help to which they may be entitled, including the advice available through Home Energy Scotland.