Today marks Fuel Poverty Awareness Day. National charity Friends of the Elderly is encouraging older people who need help heating their homes to apply to its small grant scheme.
The charity offers one-off grants to older people to help relieve the stress and worry often experienced by those living on a low income.
Mary, 78, from Oxfordshire, contacted the charity because she had nowhere else to turn and no one to talk to. She had been diagnosed with lung cancer and said she was desperate and couldn’t cope. Friends of the Elderly contributed towards the cost of her heating bill.
Mary said: “I wish I could really put into words just how much it means to have your help and support. The financial assistance is so reassuring. It really does make a difference, and means I don’t have to choose between keeping warm and eating. I cannot thank you enough for the help you give me…It is like a blanket on a cold night.”
Grants are available to help with utility bills, household repairs and to replace essential items that support daily living. To be eligible for a grant you must be over state retirement age, live in England or Wales and living on a low income. Full details of the criteria can be found at www.fote.org.uk/grants.
Lois Walters, Engagement Hub Team Leader at Friends of the Elderly, said: “An alarming 1.4m older people in the UK are living in fuel poverty*, having to choose between eating and heating their homes because they can’t afford to do both. With Fuel Poverty Awareness Day on Friday, we want to remind older people that we can help them with their bills, so they aren’t forced to make that choice.”
For more information about our small grants scheme phone 0330 332 1110.
*Department of Energy & Climate Change (2013), Fuel Poverty Report