With many people in the agricultural industry affected by rising energy costs and the cost-of-living crisis continuing to put significant pressure on the sector, RSABI has seen a 55% rise in applications for Help for Heating grants in the past year.

Over the course of the 2022/23 financial year, RSABI issued £41,000 of Help for Heating grants and demand is expected to be strong, according to Welfare Manager Chris McVey, as many fixed-term energy deals start coming to an end.

The reality is that many farming and crofting people are living in houses that are very old involving properties that can be difficult to insulate properly and costly to heat.

The Scottish Farmer: The cost of heating homes has risen in recent yearsThe cost of heating homes has risen in recent years

Mr McVey said: “Our Help for Heating grants are available to farmers, crofters, and others working in, or retired from, agriculture who are struggling with the rising costs of heating bills.

“The grants are simple and quick to apply for, with funding starting at £300 available to those spending more than 10% of their household income on heating costs and finding it difficult to afford essentials like food and clothing.”

The organisation is urging people who are struggling to pay to heat their homes to get in touch to find out more about the initiative and the other support services on offer.

Mr McVey said: “Our team is on hand to take you through the straightforward application process and can advise on other ways we might be able to help too as well as signposting other organisations that can provide energy efficiency advice for your home.

“In cases where finances have become really difficult, we can very quickly arrange a pre-paid debit card to pay for grocery shopping and we can also arrange purchases where household goods break down and people are struggling to pay for replacement items.”

RSABI also offers ongoing financial support through an Annual Beneficiary scheme, where anyone in need who meets the support criteria can receive regular payments to help top up their income.

RSABI is also encouraging people in the farming community to have a conversation with those around them about the services on offer to ensure those struggling to stay warm in their homes know that support is available, particularly older people and those living on their own.

The Scottish Farmer:  Help is available for those struggling to heat their home Help is available for those struggling to heat their home (Image: Web)

“As temperatures drop, it’s more important than ever that we look out for each other to ensure people are keeping warm over the winter months.

“We know there will be many households out there who were managing, but now with the cost-of-living impact, fixed-term energy contracts ending, and increased home energy and input costs, financial pressure is growing which can cause stress and really start to impact on individual’s mental health.”

More details can be found on the RSABI website www.rsabi.org.uk to chat with a case officer, call the RSABI freephone Helpline on 0808 1234 555 which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and calls won’t show up on phone bills. All enquiries are completely confidential.