Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Service is encouraging people worried about heating their homes this winter to seek advice to deal with energy bills and the cost of living.
Data from across the citizens advice network suggest one in 10 people seeking help with an energy issue also require food insecurity advice.
The service wants people worried about their energy bills to seek wraparound advice that could see their incomes boosted through additional grants or social security payments.
People can get advice in a number of ways, including one to one from Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Service, or a range of online options including the interactive self-help tool www.MoneyMap.scot, the Money Talk Team service or the public advice site.
Phil Stewart, CEO of Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Service said, “The number of people contacting us for assistance for energy and financial support has doubled in the last 6 months to almost 10% of our entire clientele. This evidences the dire situation that is affecting householders right across the region, many of whom have progressed from struggling to suffering due to lack of heating and affordable, nourishing food.
“We are gaining clients who in other times would not have needed to contact us for energy advice and other financial and charitable support. This has amounted to £150 000 finding its way back into the pockets of our communities.
“As a result, we are increasing our number of specialist energy advisers to cope with demand. Last year D&GCAS unlocked £6.85 million for people in Dumfries and Galloway.
“Our advice is free, impartial and confidential. We will never charge people for advice and during this cost of living crisis it costs nothing to check how we could help.”