HCF charity winter appeal to avoid more deaths

PUBLISHED: 15:18 09 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:18 09 December 2019

One in 11 homes in Herts is in fuel poverty

One in 11 homes in Herts is in fuel poverty

Archant

More than 2,100 people died in three years in Herts due to poor living conditions in winter. Hertfordshire Community Foundation is asking for help to combat devastating fuel poverty

Rising energy costs, low incomes and energy-inefficient housing are some of the driving factors behind 8.7 percent of homes in Hertfordshire - roughly one in 11 - being classified as 'fuel poor' by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Fuel poverty means a household's energy costs are above average and their remaining disposable income after paying their bills puts them below the poverty line.

For people struggling to afford to heat their homes it is not only about being uncomfortable. Research shows that cold home temperatures have an impact on physical and mental health. Being cold can lead to increased blood pressure and a lower immune system resistance, which in turn can lead to respiratory infections. In some cases these can become life threatening. Sadly, between August 2014 and July 2017, the Office for National Statistics reported that over 2,100 people in Hertfordshire died due to poor living conditions in winter.

The effects of fuel poverty can be devastating and lead to social isolation, poorer physical and mental health, lower educational achievement and rationing of food and other essentials.

Hertfordshire Community Foundation believes in the power of local communities coming together to help those in crisis. By encouraging and enabling local philanthropy, the foundation provides support in the form of small grants to Hertfordshire residents in need and the charitable organisations that work with them.

Each year the foundation conducts a winter appeal to raise money to help those most in need in the county to stay warm and well during the coldest months. By working with local partners, Hertfordshire Community Foundation ensures that support goes directly to those who desperately need it in a simple, quick and cost effective way.

Helen Gray, HCF director said, 'Each year Hertfordshire Community Foundation sees an increase in the demand for support from this appeal. We hear of families who are forced to choose between buying food and paying their rent, of terminally ill individuals who are constantly cold but can't afford to heat their homes sufficiently and of elderly people who are anxious about how they will afford their heating bills each month.

The roll out of Universal Credit, rising fuel prices and higher costs of living are all resulting in more people struggling in Hertfordshire. Our winter appeal provides much needed support. Donations of any size are welcome and every penny raised stays within Hertfordshire. The appeal is also a great way for those who receive the Winter Fuel Allowance, and don't need it to pay their own bills, to help someone else.'

Donations can be made via the website hertscf.org.uk, by bank transfer to account: 28592379/sort code: 60-10-39 or by cheque payable to 'Hertfordshire Community Foundation' at HCF, Foundation House, 2-4 Forum Place, Fiddlebridge Road, Hatfield AL10 0RN

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