At Exeter Community Energy, since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown, we have seen a threefold increase in the level of requests for support from our Healthy Homes Hardship Fund, which was launched last winter.
Our Winter Warmth campaign generated almost £5000 for the Hardship Fund, thanks to the generosity of local residents. This money has been used over the past 6 months to support low income and vulnerable households with purchases such as electric heaters, fridges, washing machines, cookers, fuel/food vouchers and basic repairs, and now due to the increase in demand we need to raise more funds.
The crisis is compounding difficulties faced by residents who are already economically vulnerable and insecure and who may find themselves battling illness, hunger and debt. Vulnerable groups already at greater risk face further barriers such as lack of internet access and increased social isolation.
Low income households would normally go to a charity shop, or use local recycling/reuse options when their fridge or cooker breaks down, but with social distancing restrictions in place and charity shops closed, these families have little to no options. Unable to afford to buy new appliances they are turning to us for a solution.
We are seeking donations for our Healthy Homes Hardship Fund to help us quickly respond to requests for basic necessities such as fridges or cookers, prepayment meter top ups and food vouchers for low income and vulnerable households.
Our project, Healthy Homes for Wellbeing, provides free energy advice and free LEAP home visits for those who are eligible in Exeter, Mid Devon, East Devon, Teignbridge and Torbay. Our five Home Energy Advisers give practical energy advice and support to the vulnerable and fuel poor at drop-in energy advice clinics and events across the region, and during LEAP home visits.
Since the start of our Healthy Homes project in 2017, we have witnessed too many examples of extreme poverty and we know that in many situations just a small grant can make all the difference to a struggling household.
We are grateful for all of your support. Donations no matter how small can help us to make a real difference in the local community.