Through 2021 our Community Fund has continued to help people facing fuel poverty. We all know how much energy prices are rising at the moment. Every little helps.
Each winter, many people struggle to afford to heat their homes. Living in a cold, damp home is stressful and very bad for health. Experts estimate that cold weather kills as many people each winter as smoking and alcohol abuse. For the elderly in particular cold weather increases the risks of heart disease, breathing difficultues, falls and injuries, and can deepen depression and sense of isolation. Such problems cost the NHS an estimated £1.36 billion each year.
This year our Community Fund has been boosted further by SE24 members who receive Winter Fuel Payments (a non-means tested benefit of £200 paid to all state pensioners each autumn) recycling their payment to those who most need it.
These payments have been channelled to those in most need via Christians Against Poverty (CAP) in the form of fuel vouchers and other emergency aid to help people keep warm this winter. (CAP work with people of all religions and none.)
CAP have entered an arrangement with the Fuel Bank Foundation (https://www.fuelbankfoundation.org/) who turn a one-off donation of £500 into £49 fuel vouchers for as many people as CAP refer to them this winter. Win-win! Any additional funds will be used by CAP to purchase additional items to help people stay warm such as duvets and scarfs.
So far seven members have added £1,400 to the Community Fund in this way. We will monitor the process this year and if we are satisfied with the way these funds have been used we will extend the scheme beyond members next year.
If you receive a Winter Fuel Payment and would like to donate your payment to SE24 Community Fund in future years please e mail us on [email protected].