As families struggle with rising energy prices, the escalating cost of living and the removal of the £20 Universal Credit uplift, a lifeline is being offered to help vulnerable residents keep warm this winter.

For the seventh year running, we have teamed up with Vale Royal Lions to launch our Heating Bank campaign.

Andy Benson, of Vale Royal Lions, said: “Just £22, alongside budgeting support from Citizens Advice, has been enough to provide heat, light and much-needed breathing space to enable people to get back on track.”

Last year, with the help of national funding, we issued over 800 fuel vouchers to 1124 local residents, including 812 families with children under the age of 16.

In conjunction with the Fuel Bank Foundation, payments were credited directly to the prepayment meter or utility account of those who needed it most. In rural areas clients were helped with coal, wood and calor gas.

Sean McInerny, one of our Community Connectors, said: “The pandemic has left many local residents struggling to pay for fuel, often through no fault of their own. The most common reason we find is a delay in receiving benefit payments.

Many people are facing a desperate situation. Last year we were approached by a client who couldn’t afford to repair his broken boiler and was relying on costly mobile heaters to keep warm. Thanks to the generosity of the public we were able to contribute to the cost of getting the boiler fixed.”

Those in receipt of the Government’s Winter Fuel Payment, who do not necessarily need it, may wish to donate some or all of it to those struggling to pay their heating bills.

All donations, no matter how big or small, will be much appreciated by us, the Lions and residents who will enjoy a warmer home for the winter than they would have done without it.

Use this link to donate in Chester and Ellesmere Port. If you are from Northwich or Winsford donate here or send a cheque made payable to Vale Royal Lions and with ‘Heating Bank’ written on the back to Vale Royal Lions, 10 Blandford Drive, Northwich, CW9 8UD.

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