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Fuel poverty is a big issue!

March 15, 2021

Fuel poverty is a big issue! Featured Image

Fuel Bank Foundation has partnered with The Big Issue Foundation to support Big Issue vendors struggling to pay their fuel bills.

Vendors, who have been unable to work during the Covid-19 lockdown, can now get emergency financial support from Fuel Bank Foundation to pay for gas and electricity.

According to The Big Issue, over the past year at least one vendor has contacted it every week to discuss support for paying their utility bills.

Lockdown restrictions have meant that Big Issue vendors have been spending more time at home, resulting in more energy being used for heating and lighting, placing extra pressure on already stretched finances.

Partnering with the Fuel Bank Foundation came at the right time with so many Big issue vendors struggling financially during the pandemic. The Big Issue frontline staff are trained to assess the need and refer directly into the Fuel Bank. After referral confirmation a vendor will receive a £49 voucher that can be redeemed to top up their electric/gas prepayment meter. This means we have time to support the vendor with direct budgeting advice and information from the Fuel bank, giving them some breathing space. For our vendors this will mean the difference between eating and whether to have the lights on or not. Fuel Bank makes a significant difference to those receiving help and ensures they have access to energy for things like cooking, heating and lighting. We are excited to partner with Fuel Bank to help ease the financial burden felt by Big Issue vendors whilst they are unable to sell the magazine.
Simon Chilcott, head of service development at The Big Issue Foundation

Research by Fuel Bank Foundation found that demand for its services has increased by around 23 per cent since the outbreak of the pandemic, with local spikes of 300 per cent in the worst affected areas.

COVID-19 has highlighted the reality for many of running out of money for gas and electricity. For some, this is something that has happened in the past, and for many years, and was a common event when growing up.  However, for an alarming number of people, COVID-19 has brought this about for the very first time, with many finding themselves without the support networks or tried and tested ways to get through a gap in household finances where you are forced to literally live without energy. The impact of waking up one day cold, unable to cook a hot meal or keep food chilled, not able to have a warm shower or wash clothes, no access to wi-fi or TV for school learning, and unable to connect with family or society is significant and should not be understated.
Matthew Cole, Fuel Bank Foundation chair of trustees