'Communities need our support this winter more than ever'

Hertfordshire Community Foundation is seeking donations to help people experiencing fuel poverty this winter

Hertfordshire Community Foundation is seeking donations to help people experiencing fuel poverty this winter - Credit: Hertfordshire Community Foundation

Hertfordshire Community Foundation, a local charity which provides grants for those in need, is warning that many households in the county could be forced into severe financial hardship this winter.

Helen Gray, foundation director for HCF, said: “As the cold weather settles in many people will be facing a winter like no other.

"An anticipated rise in redundancies due to the end of the government furlough scheme, cuts to Universal Credit and soaring fuel prices mean that more people will increasingly be unable to cover the basic costs of living such as food, heating and other essentials.

"We have a cost-of-living crisis and people are struggling despite being employed.

“We anticipate that these factors will put further pressure on foodbanks, exacerbate child poverty and the number of people experiencing homelessness and harm individuals’ mental health.

"The communities of Hertfordshire need our support this winter more than ever.

“Pre-pandemic our Hertfordshire Matters research found that more than 25,000 children were living in poverty in our county and it is undoubtable that this figured has increased in the last year.

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“Local families, senior citizens and other vulnerable people are fearing a grim winter. Hertfordshire Community Foundation is seeking donations towards our Winter Poverty Appeal to help reduce poverty-related misery, cover fuel and food costs and fund activities to reduce loneliness and isolation."

Donations will help provide essential funding to voluntary organisations and charities helping those struggling to cope.

Thanks to donations from local businesses and individuals, in 2020 the foundation was able to help hundreds of people in Herts, including an elderly lady enduring her second round of cancer treatment which left her susceptible to the cold, a wheelchair user who was in debt trying to heat his flat, and a woman who was working two jobs but struggled to make ends meet for her family.

Helen added: “We ask that if anyone is in the position to do so, to donate and if you receive the Winter Fuel Payment, and don't need it, this is a great way to recycle it.”

To support the appeal go to https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/HCFwinterpovertyappeal