Support is there as households tighten their budgets this winter

woman with elderly man getting off a minibus

Sidmouth Voluntary Services are always looking for more volunteers such as Hazel Apps pictured helping Mr Leslie Arcanley off the minibus - Credit: Tony Charnock

Last week the Herald reported that many residents could be struggling to heat their homes this winter. Now that the £20 Universal Credit coronavirus top-up has ended it has left many vulnerable people out of pocket. If you are affected by this change, who will you turn to for support in your local area this winter? 

New figures from the Office for National Statistics show that more than 6,000 households in East Devon are in fuel poverty this year. 
The level of people claiming Universal Credit also rose over the past two years.
In July 2019, nearly 2,500 people were claiming UC support. 
This year that figure has increased to almost 8,500 residents. 

Citizens Advice in Exeter and East Devon can provide advice and support and has helpful frequently asked questions on their website concerning the Universal Credit cut. 
There is also information as to how many families can receive money-off meal vouchers for school children and money-off public transport this October half term.  
According to the charity, you might also be able to get £140 off your electricity bill under the 'Warm Home Discount Scheme' if you’re either getting the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit or on a low income. The advice is to check with your energy supplier as not all are part of the scheme.

Philip Deegan, Chairman of Sidmouth Voluntary Services said: “Sidmouth Voluntary Services continues to have a high demand for services, especially hot meal home delivery and lunch club at Twyford House. And local elderly residents are welcome to visit Twyford House’s warm café for refreshments on weekday mornings.

“Many of our clients are on tight budgets so we expect an increased demand as we move into the colder months. We provide an important hot meals service which will be even more vital as household budgets tighten further with the rise in fuel costs, especially if people need to decide between paying for heating bills or food. 

“We’re urgently trying to recruit more volunteers to help deliver the service which is valued by clients not just for practical support, but also for moral support during these times which can be anxious for vulnerable people.”

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