There’s been a domino effect of announcements about increasing gas and electricity prices in the last few weeks. For many of us this will mean a squeeze on our household budgets but for some people it’s more serious, with going cold or hungry a real prospect.
Fuel poverty is becoming an increasingly recognisable term.The good news is that there is help available. Norfolk Community Foundation and Age UK Norfolk’s Surviving Winter campaign is one such example. It targets its support, including financial assistance, at the county’s vulnerable older people – and Age UK Norfolk will explain more below.
We’ve also provided links to some of the other support and schemes that are available in Norfolk to help people stay warm this winter at the bottom of this blog post. Please add any others you’re aware of in the comments section.
Winter is usually the most difficult time of year for older people. At Age UK Norfolk a lot of our work over the coming months will be concentrated on making sure that Norfolk’s older people keep well and stay warm.But with another hike in the price of heating costs, it is becoming harder than ever for people trying to get by on a pension to keep warm.
Going cold isn’t just unpleasant and uncomfortable, it can lead to serious health problems. Some of Norfolk’s most vulnerable residents will even face the choice of heating properly or eating properly.
Our Surviving Winter campaign is designed to make sure that no elderly resident is ever in this position. The fund offers payments to older people to ease the burden of paying for fuel bills over the winter.
Over the last month or so we’ve distributed £14,000 to help people in need across the county and we’re receiving more and more requests every day. Last winter we gave out a total of £44,000 to more than 200 people, with all of this money coming from charitable donations, and we’re incredibly grateful for all of these, no matter how big or small.
Earlier this week the fund got a huge boost when Norfolk County Council announced it would be donating £100,000 to the cause – fantastic news for us and for older people in Norfolk. It means we’ll be able to help hundreds more people survive the winter in good health.
We want to help people based on their individual circumstances, and so we haven’t got strict criteria on who is eligible and who isn’t. If you feel you or someone you know could really do with help from the Surviving Winter fund, please do get in touch with us. Even if you think you or your friend or relative may not be old enough or their situation may not be serious enough, please do pick up the phone – we may well be able to help.
The number to call to request support from the fund is 01603 787111. Our volunteers will be here to listen to your requests between 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, or you can leave a message outside of these hours leaving your name and contact details, and we’ll get in touch as soon as we can.
We’d also love to hear from people who want to make a donation to the fund so we can help even more people. Click here for information on how you can do this.
It’s not just people of a certain age that can suffer from fuel poverty though. If you’re not old enough to benefit from the Surviving Winter campaign, then there are other ways you can get help keeping warm this winter.
The government’s Warm Front Scheme offers to pay for heating and insulation in the homes of vulnerable people across England and the Green Deal initiative, to be launched in January by the government, is a scheme designed to reduce utility bills if people pay for energy-saving improvements in their homes.
Norwich residents in need of fuel assistance can take advantage of Norwich’s Big Switch and Save initiative and if you’re just seeking advice on how to cut the cost of your gas and electricity bills or replace your boiler, the Energy Saving Trust offers help on how to be efficient with your energy.