“With winter now gone, we are starting to witness a whole new level of poverty and issues” comments Tara Bowers, Chair of ECOE.

Poverty and Hardship soar during Covid crisis

Last year Healthy Homes for Wellbeing, run by Exeter Community Energy (ECOE) launched a Winter Warmth campaign highlighting the issues of fuel poverty and hard to heat homes faced by local residents each and every winter. The campaign generated almost £5000 for the Healthy Homes 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 vouchers and basic repairs.

“With winter now gone, we are starting to witness a whole new level of poverty and issues” comments Tara Bowers, Chair of ECOE. “The current Covid 19 crisis brings challenges to us all, especially to those who are already vulnerable or struggling financially.”

Millions already find life difficult in the UK and this is being compounded by difficulties in getting to shops or getting deliveries. Without the right help to deal with the conditions created by COVID-19, residents who are economically vulnerable and insecure 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. It’s not surprising that the Healthy Homes team have seen a threefold increase in the level of requests for support from their Hardship Fund.

“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”, explains Gill Wyatt, project manager at Healthy Homes. “Unable to afford to buy new appliances they are turning to us for a solution.”

ECOE are seeking donations for their Healthy Homes Hardship Fund to help them quickly respond to requests for basic necessities such as fridges or cookers for low income and vulnerable households.

“During the past three years, we have seen 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. Donations no matter how small can help us to make a real difference in the local community.” commented Gill Wyatt.

All donations can be made via the Just Giving website at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ecoe or by calling ECOE on 0800 772 3617.

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