In from the cold – our winter fuel campaign round-up

Each year HA gives thousands of pounds in winter fuel grants and this season saw particularly high demand. Grants are made to Golden Friends and people of working age in financial hardship of working age. Jo Raine from our Grants Team takes up the story…..

“Government figures show that around 2.5 million households in the UK cannot afford to heat their homes to an adequate temperature. Fuel poverty is caused by low incomes, high energy prices and energy inefficient housing.

Research published last year revealed  that fuel poverty is directly linked to more than 3,000 deaths a year . Beyond the terrible scale of cold-related deaths, people experiencing fuel poverty have an increased risk of health issues such as cardiovascular and respiratory problems. Living in a cold home can also impact on mental health and social isolation.

We are delighted that Hospitality Action’s Winter Fuel Grant programme, which is kindly sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Innholders, has helped more than 300 households on low incomes to heat their homes this winter.  Each household has benefited from a one-off grant of £150 towards their winter fuel bills.

This year we have awarded in excess of £45,000 in Winter Fuel Grants. Over two-thirds of recipients are members of our Golden Friends Scheme for retirees from the hospitality industry. However, nearly a third of our Winter Fuel Grants have been awarded to people currently working in the industry, demonstrating that many households in employment are also struggling to pay their bills.

Nearly 80% of those we have helped say that that if it wasn’t for our grant they would have gone without heating in certain rooms, and 45% say that in order to pay their fuel bills they would have had to forego other essentials including food.

Comments from grant recipients illustrate the broader impact of fuel poverty on physical and mental health:

Without your help I would be so cold which makes my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome worse – which ends up making my depression worse with worry.

Thank you very much. If it gets too cold I stay in bed till noon and back at 7.30

Thank you so much. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to use more gas and keep warm instead of being cold with extra clothes and blankets.

To know that I can have the heating on for longer each day is one less thing to worry about.

Thank you for your grant towards my winter fuel bill…I know if I can be warm I can be healthy.

With this grant I can let my grandchildren come and see me – usually my flat is too cold for them.

From these comments and all the other feedback we receive, the message couldn’t be clearer.  Help towards winter fuel costs is beneficial in so many ways to those who would otherwise be struggling through the colder months.”