Strood Community Project is calling for local pensioners to share their Winter Fuel Allowance with local families who are struggling to keep warm this winter.
Energy Equity is the scheme being run by Strood Community Project which enables those pensioners who don’t need the full Winter Fuel Allowance themselves to support families living on the edge of a crisis.
The Winter Fuel Allowance is a universal benefit, meaning that all pensioners receive it whether they need it or not. Paul Robinson, Chief Executive of Strood Community Project, came up with the idea when working with people who came to the charity for help to keep warm. ‘On the one hand we have families who are having to choose between feeding the children and keeping warm. On the other we have some pensioners receiving help to pay their fuel bills who may not actually need that help. Our scheme, Energy Equity, provides the means to share resources across our community.’
Pensioners can receive as much as £300 from the Winter Fuel Allowance during November or December and the charity thinks that if only a few percent of local people donate their allowance this could transform the outlook for dozens of local families this Christmas time.
Paul says, ‘We tend to think that Christmas is a great time for everyone. But when the children are not at school many families are having to keep their homes warmer and to cook extra meals. There are also more lights on and more appliances being used. In many households there’s just not enough money to go round.’
Anyone wishing to donate their Winter fuel Allowance can do so via www.stroodcommunityproject.org.uk or by sending a cheque to their office at 123-125 High Street, Strood, Rochester Kent ME2 4TJ. Gift Aid can be claimed on donations – normal terms and conditions apply.
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David and Jane live in Strood and have two teenage children. David had to give up work two years ago due to a bad back. Jane went out to work but became a victim of stress trying to look after her children, run the home and earn enough to keep the house.
The final straw was when the rent went up. Jane lost her job because of her failing mental health and now there is regularly not enough money to pay all the bills. Jane’s daily worry is that they will be evicted as the rent payments are getting further behind each month. Both David and Jane have had to access the local Foodbank at times and are ashamed at not being able to provide for their children.
David and Jane sought help from Strood Community Project. The charity made sure that they were receiving the right welfare benefits and that debts were put on a more manageable footing. Through working with partner organisations Jane’s mental health needs are being addressed. Energy Equity will enable the charity to financially support the family by paying their energy bills through the winter months removing one of the biggest headaches that the family has.