Portsmouth residents to receive help paying winter fuel bills
Hundreds of people living in Portsmouth will benefit from a share of grant worth £25,000 secured by Portsmouth City Council, the fund is being managed by the Hampshire and IOW Community Foundation, to help Portsmouth residents keep well through the winter.
The grant was awarded to the council by the Department of Health from their Warm Homes Healthy People fund which will help hundreds of people living in the Portsmouth City Council boundaries that are struggling to afford to heat their home and are in need of extra support.
Voluntary and community groups from across Portsmouth have come together to support the initiative including: Portsmouth Citizens Advice Bureau, the Salvation Army, Roberts Centre and Age UK Portsmouth.
In recent years, Portsmouth Citizens Advice Bureau has received as many as 400 requests from local people who need help to pay their winter fuel bills and as the cost of heating oil has increased by 40 per cent in the last 18 months it is now more crucial than ever to provide help.
Clare Rachwal at Portsmouth City Council said, “It is so important for people to keep warm and well in the colder months and that should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds after the cold snap we have just had.
“We are thrilled to have been awarded the grant as it really will make such a big difference to people living in fuel poverty in Portsmouth.”
To make a claim, individuals who are in real need should contact one of the local voluntary groups involved complete a simple application – in most cases there will be no waiting and support can be given very quickly.
The HIWCF has particular expertise in this area after recently implementing the “Surviving Winter” campaign which successfully appealed for funds to help vulnerable older people living in fuel poverty throughout Hampshire and the IOW.
HIWCF CEO Toni Shaw said, “The Surviving Winter campaign highlighted a real need for help in Portsmouth and I have no doubt that this money will go a long way to help local people who could really use some extra support.” She added it was a tremendous team effort from across the Council, voluntary and community to pull this initiative together very quickly and show that we can all work together to delivery support quickly to people who need help in Portsmouth”
Anyone eligible for help could receive £100 to cover the cost of fuel bills, warm clothing, bedding and even emergency repair work to windows, letter box’s or heating systems. In exceptional cases grants of £200 are available. However the money has to be spent by the end of March so time is of the essence.
If you would like to find out more about the small grants fund, visit hantscf.org.uk.