HEAT OR EAT: 'People really are struggling', says family charity chief

As food prices increase and household energy bills face a substantial rise, the challenge of making ends meet is becoming ever more challenging.

Amid the escalating bills and generally static wages, increasing numbers of Fylde families are facing a stark choice - whether to heat or eat.

Community organisations and charities helping the cope fear it the situation could get even worse and warn it is unlikely to be a short-term situation.

But surely everyone has the right to not be cold or go hungry, which is why our community campaign ‘Heat and Eat - fight the cost of living crisis’, has been launched to call for a better tomorrow for our audience.

Co-ordinator Linda Nulty at Fylde Foodbank in Kirkham

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HEAT OR EAT: Food banks are busier than ever as food and energy prices increase

Among those backing the campaign is Home-Start Blackpool Fylde and Wyre, the charity founded in St Annes which looks after the needs of families.

Over the years, it has grown from just having a Fylde presence to covering the whole of the Fylde coast covering the three neighbouring boroughs and is currently seeing unprecedented demand.

“People really are struggling,” said Home-Start Blackpool Fylde and Wyre chief executive Pat Naylor.

Pat Naylor, chief executive of Home-Start Blackpool Fylde and Wyre

“We have been around for over 10 years now and never seen anything like it - it really is a stark choice for many of heating or eating, and the extra concern is that even many of our volunteers and staff are finding that’s their situation, too.

“Every time family is referred to us as being in need of help, we ask them to mark on a scale of zero to five how they are coping financially - zero for badly up to five for well.

“The number of low scores has increased drastically and the worrying thing is that struggling to cope financially might lead to struggling to cope in other ways.

“Everything seems to have come together - the effects of the pandemic, the £20 extra on Universal Credit now being taken away and fuel prices on the rise at the tome of year it is most needed.

“Something urgently needs to be done to help people and this campaign is very welcome in the aim to try and make a difference.”

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