The Wise Group today welcomed the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights, Patrick Harvie, to our Templeton Hub. At the event, the First Minister spoke for the first time on a £20 million extension to the Fuel Insecurity Fund.
During the hour-long visit and press conference the First Minister spoke with colleagues from across the enterprise, learning more about our energy academies, energy advice and advocacy services, and Relational Mentoring for those most deeply impacted by the cost-of-living crisis.
One of the clearest examples of Relational Mentoring given was of a young family who had struggled to pay for after school clubs for their children. In turn, this had a knock-on impact on educational participation, with one child seeking to leave education so that they could help to contribute towards household bills. With our support, the family were given access to help with bills, and the children were given the opportunity to again take up their passions. The relatable experience of Relational Mentoring was also captured by the vivid reflections of a mentor who had previously been mentored themselves. Overall, the Wise Group’s ability to amplify and connect support across Scottish society shone through. Several of the figures spoke for themselves, with nearly half a million pounds of savings and debt relief delivered in November alone, and £3 million of financial support distributed through the year.
Wise Group mentors sit down with @NicolaSturgeon and Patrick Harvie to discuss the crucial role and impact our Relational Mentoring has for customers needing fuel poverty support. #fuelpoverty #impact #socialenterprise pic.twitter.com/rCu048ZLSF— The Wise Group (@wisegroup_se) December 19, 2022
Following these conversations, the First Minister spoke to the BBC, STV and other media outlets on the “important work” and inspirational stories, going on to discuss further details of the budget. With the visit taking place the same week as Christmas, it was an important point of reflection over the huge journey our mentors have taken the enterprise on over the past year.
Coming into 2022 with the knowledge that energy prices were going to reach levels never before seen was daunting not just for those that we work with, but for everyone. At that point too, half a million pounds was invested by the Wise Group into our fuel poverty work – much of which would not now exist without that intervention. Instead, it has reached more families, more meaningfully, and with greater impact than ever before.
Over the summer, as the price cap was due to rise yet again we brought together industry, government and third sector organisations to lead Scotland’s response to the growing crisis. In these sessions, we connected decision-makers with customers and colleagues – explaining not only what is going wrong but what is going right.
Going into 2023, we can be confident that our life changing support is not only being noticed, but being celebrated as a leader in the fight to lift people out of poverty.