Charities and community groups across the UK have been making a request this winter: please donate your Winter Fuel Payment.
“Heat or Eat dilemma”
The charity National Energy Action has calculated that energy bills have risen well over £230 since last winter, creating what they call a “daily heat or eat dilemma” for the poorest households.
“When the costs of essential services go up, those on lowest incomes get hit hardest” comments Adam Scorer from NEA. Poor quality housing means colder homes. Those on prepayment meters will face higher than average increases on their bills, impacting the poorest households the most.
All this forces more people into fuel poverty, having an impact on mental and physical health. The risks are high, with data showing that 8500 people died due to cold homes in winter 2019/20.
Energy for food
It’s not just radiators that need energy. Food preparation requires electricity, causing low income households to feel the strain on mealtimes.
Bristol Energy Network’s COVID fuel campaign last year highlighted the challenge: “People need energy to store and heat their food. The safest way to feed masses of people is fresh frozen meals, stored in a freezer, defrosted in a fridge, heated in microwave or oven”. It can be a spiralling problem of knock-on costs.
What you can do
If you feel you can get by without your Winter Fuel Payment this year, please consider donating yours to support someone who is struggling to stay warm this winter.
Here are a few of the charities raising money to support those struggling with fuel poverty this year:
- Somerset Community Foundation (South West) – Surviving Winter appeal
- Small Acts of Kindness (national)
- National Energy Action (national)
Give what you can, and then give yourself a high five 😊
To find out more about what community energy groups are doing to support low income households in the energy crisis, take a look at this piece in The Bristol Cable by Rachel Moffat.