Blackpool charity to help distribute £2m to stop people making desperate 'heating or eating' choice
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The investment aims to offer energy and food support to people living in the most vulnerable situations.
It will be distributed through a network of 10 charity partners that Cadent Foundation already works with, including Blackpool Coastal Housing, as well as the Blackpool and Fylde Coast teams of Citizens Advice.
Launching on Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, the new fund is designed to allow charities offering energy and money guidance, to have rapid access to additional financial resources, helping to make an immediate impact for people needing extra support.
It comes as new research by Opinion Matters reveals that almost all (89%) UK adults with a household income of £29,500 or less are finding it challenging to cover their household bills.
Two-fifths stated said they are struggling with energy bills and do not know where to turn.
Ranjit Blythe, Managing Director of the Cadent Foundation, said: “As part of our focus on tackling fuel poverty, the Cadent Foundation has strong partnerships with incredible charities offering energy efficiency and money management advice, together with practical energy saving interventions.
“We know these are making a real difference in the communities we work in, to drive long-term change.
"However, we also know that the situation for many who are living in the most vulnerable situations is desperate, and due to the ongoing cost of living challenges, this is not expected to change any time soon.
"Therefore, we wanted to empower our charity partners who are working in the communities daily, to be able to make an immediate difference to people when they need it the most.
“With the number of people living in fuel poverty sitting at 6.3 million this year, according to National Energy Action, we know this fund won’t provide the much-needed long-term solution for tackling this issue.
"But hopefully, by giving charities the option to make a quick financial impact, it will make the decision on whether to eat or heat their homes, a little easier for people this winter.”
How to access the support
The food and energy vouchers will be available to people who are living in the most vulnerable situations and who Cadent Foundation’s current charity partners are supporting with energy efficiency and money management guidance.
The funding boost will be available between December and March and has the potential to support thousands of homes across the country in areas of high deprivation.
Each household can receive up to two vouchers, with the option of also having up to £100 to spend on essential heating and cooking appliances, such as heated blankets, slow cookers and air fryers.
Gillian Cooper, Director of Energy at Citizens Advice, one of the charity partners involved in the project, added: “Our work with the Cadent Foundation has already helped over one thousand people access crucial information about energy efficiency, benefits and ways to maximise their incomes.
“This winter could see millions of people struggling with their bills.
"The ability to provide vouchers to people facing immediate hardship means we can help some get access to electrical goods and prevent others from having to make the impossible choice between heating, eating or keeping the lights on.”