Rising energy costs, low incomes and energy-inefficient housing are some of the driving factors behind 8.7% of homes in Hertfordshire roughly one in 11 being classified as 'fuel poor'*. Fuel poverty means a households 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 it was 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.
Each year Hertfordshire Community 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.
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 cant 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. Hertfordshire Community Foundation's 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 that receive the Winter Fuel Allowance, and dont need it to pay their own bills, to help someone else.