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Comment about Fuel Poverty Awareness Day

Oliver Gray, Business Development Director, Charis Grants Ltd.

Charis fully supports the National Energy Action’s Fuel Poverty Awareness Day and the great work it is doing to raise awareness of this vital issue. This year it comes as no surprise that no one needs a special day to remind them about the physical, emotional, and financial impact of fuel poverty.

The perfect storm of economic firebombs has meant that fuel poverty is actually just one challenge in a flurry of many others – inflation, interest rates, rent, council tax, fuel – which have all combined in a short period of time to give us the worst cost of living crisis this country has witnessed in decades.

Through the Charis Shop – an online platform established to support the distribution of hardship grants – we know that energy is just one part of the story. We have certainly seen a surge in demand for energy support over the last few weeks, particularly since we launched the Digital Payment card scheme, which means we can support households with pre-paid meters and direct debit customers to access support with their energy costs.

However, that has been accompanied by increasing demand for supermarket vouchers, as more and more households are running out of cash to buy even the most basic of their family’s needs.

According to the government, a household is in fuel poverty if the property they are living in has an energy efficiency rating of below a band D, combined with an income level that is below the poverty line after they have paid to heat their home. That line is being crossed by millions more households across the UK this winter.

So, at Charis, we are supporting the NEA in marking this Fuel Poverty Awareness Day through raising as much additional awareness as possible through our own marketing channels. But at the same time, every single day, we are nurturing partnerships with local authorities and social housing organisations, providing them with constantly evolving and improving technology and tools to ensure that the short-term effects of fuel poverty are eased.