“Being on a meter has made me very aware of how much money is spent on energy. We make a conscious effort to use the bare minimum and check the meter every morning and night so we are constantly aware of what we are using. I dread the winter.”
“I feel guilty every time it is cold and the children have to sit with blankets around them because I am too worried to put the heating on.”
These are just a couple of the stories we’ve heard as part of our No Cold Homes campaign. As a charity fighting UK poverty, we know that millions of people are struggling to pay their energy bills and keep their homes warm - often going without food and other essentials.
As part of our campaign, we found that almost two-thirds (64%) of low income households in Wales are struggling with their energy costs, despite being in work. A huge 85% feel they will have to cut back on, or not use their heating this winter, whilst over two-fifths (42%) said they would resort to cutting back on food. Two-fifths (40%) anticipate that their energy bills will cause further stress and worry over the coming months.
It’s clear that more needs to be urgently done to tackle these serious problems and one way to help is by raising awareness. More than half (56%) of those households struggling in Wales have done so for more than a year, yet only 16% have told their energy supplier about their situation, and only 4% have turned to an advice organisation for help.
Through our campaign, we want to make sure that the help available gets to where it’s needed. We’ve been working in partnership with other charities and organisations to spread the word amongst their networks. Alongside working households, we know many other groups will suffer this winter too, and we want to reach as many people as we can.
Anyone who is worried about their energy costs this winter can use our free Benefits Calculator to check if they are entitled to any welfare benefits and tax credits, our Grants Search to see if they could be eligible for support from over 3,000 charitable funds, and find information on further sources of help including charitable trusts from energy companies, the Warm Home Discount and the Winter Fuel Payment.
We hope that our campaign will help to create more noise around fuel poverty issues and the help available, so that more people can find support that could make all the difference this winter and beyond.
For more information, please visit www.turn2us.org.uk/NoColdHomes.
Chief Executive of Turn2us