Herefordshire Community Foundation (HCF) is launching its 2022 Fuel Poverty Appeal to help community spaces and vulnerable households this winter. The charity has been raising funds to help locals pay their energy bills over the last eleven years but the need is now more acute than ever. The charity has received a £20,000 donation to kickstart the appeal which the charity is hoping will raise a total of £100,00 to tackle the cost of living crisis in the county.

Bridie Sullivan, Chief Executive, Herefordshire Community Foundation said: “We know that the current crisis impacts everyone but lower income households will undoubtedly be hit hardest. In Herefordshire 16.8% of households are already considered fuel poor but this is likely to rise to a staggering 28 per cent over the next few months. We will also be supporting community spaces which will otherwise struggle to stay warm and welcoming.

“It’s going to be an extremely tough winter for many so we are appealing to those that are in a more comfortable situation to give. In previous years, people have kindly donated their winter fuel payment. Likewise, this winter, some households may be able to give their £400 energy bills rebate. Any donation, however big or small, makes a huge difference and will be directed to those community spaces and households which are most in need by giving vital fuel grants.

Bridie Sullivan added: “The feedback we’ve received from past beneficiaries of our Fuel Poverty Appeal really underlines the importance of giving if you can. Recipients have said that our fuel grants have helped to lift them out of a black hole, alleviated stress and made life a little more bearable.”

Grant applications will be accepted directly from community ‘warm spaces’, whilst applications for individual households will need to be made by a referral organisation or care professional with first-hand knowledge of who is most in need - for example, Citizens Advice Bureau, local food bank, social worker, debt advisor or employment coach. Priority will be given to those who are vulnerable, disabled, supporting young children or suffering with long-term illness and conditions. Online applications are also now open.