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Fuel Bank® helps 20,000 in the Wirral

A scheme which provides funds to pay for energy, alongside emergency food, has helped over 20,000 people* in the Wirral, of which over 7,000 were children.

The npower Fuel Bank® aims to remove the stark choice between heating or eating by giving foodbank users with pre-payment meters vouchers for gas or electricity - whether or not they are npower customers. This enables households that have run out of energy to get the power back on, usually within the same day, and keep the lights and heating on for around two weeks.

The scheme is a partnership between npower and The Trussell Trust, and now runs in 14 areas and 65 foodbank centres across the country. Since the launch of the pilot scheme two and a half years ago, the initiative has helped over 90,000 people* across the UK, providing more than £1.5 million worth of emergency gas or electricity. It is hoped that with the recent launch of the npower Foundation, an independent charity, Fuel Bank will be able to help even more people in fuel crisis

Richard Roberts, manager of the Wirral Foodbank, said: ‘’When talking with individuals who come to our Foodbank, we have found that many do not have the means to cook the food provided and heat their homes.  The fuel voucher provides a lifeline, enabling people to heat their homes and feed themselves and their families.  There are a variety of reasons for needing the foodbank, changes or delays with benefit, low income and debt.  Quite often, one issue will have a domino effect, resulting in pressure on the household – the fuel voucher takes away some of that pressure.”

Commenting on the figures so far this winter, Matthew Cole, npower’s Head of Social Energy and Trustee of the npower Foundation, said: “It is clear that the npower Fuel Bank is offering a much-needed lifeline, providing warmth and hot water, as well as electricity and gas to make a cup of tea or to warm up some soup. Through our new npower Foundation – the npower Fuel Bank charity – we hope to raise more funds so that fewer people have to make the choice between heating or eating.”

Birkenhead MP Frank Field added: “Since this initiative was added to the heart of Feeding Birkenhead’s anti-poverty programme three years ago, it has pulled a small army of people back from the brink of destitution. We need as a next step for the whole of the energy industry to turn its collective firepower to such a programme, so that nobody is left hungry in a cold, dark home.”

 

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*This is a measure of people helped by the Fuel Bank, but it is not a measure of unique individuals as some people were helped more than once.

**Fuel vouchers are £30 in the summer months and £49 from 1st November to 31st March.