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Fuel Poverty

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The current economic recession combined with escalating energy costs means that increasing numbers of families and vulnerable individuals are being forced into fuel poverty.

(The Government's definition of 'fuel poverty' has changed recently. To be considered fuel poor, a household must spend more than the UK median* on its energy bill — and that expenditure must push it below the poverty line. Irrespective of the precise definition, the 'Low Income — High Costs' principle is to identify those for whom energy and heating costs are very high in proportion to their income — meaning that they are likely to "sacrifice eating for heating" or run the risk of serious ill-health through exposure to the cold.)

It is sobering to consider that fuel poverty is a serious problem in a developed and relatively wealthy country like the UK — sadly, well over two million households will be in this situation over the coming winter months.

As part of a national strategy to reduce the risks of fuel poverty, Bucks County Council is offering grants to organisations that are in contact with potentially vulnerable individuals and families. The "Big Heat — Surviving Winter Fund" is managed by the Buckinghamshire Community Foundation. The details are as follows:

Aim
To support voluntary and community groups working throughout the county to help people who are vulnerable and at risk because of the winter period and fuel poverty.

Who Can Apply?
Voluntary or community groups, social enterprises and registered charities.

Grants Available
Grants up to £5000
Grants can be awarded for capital/revenue expenditure

When can applications be made?
Applications open from 1st October 2013. Applications will firstly be considered in November and then on a monthly basis until Feb 2014. The deadline dates for receipt of applications are as follows:

  • 1st November
  • 27th November
  • 6th January
  • 29th January

If you are interested in applying, please complete the Expression of Interest form which is available on the Bucks Community Foundation website or contact their Outreach Officer on 01296 330134.

Types of activities that will be considered

  • Projects combating fuel poverty e.g. helping with fuel bills, providing information/advice, improving living conditions (draught proofing, door/window repairs)
  • Projects that are helping those most in need to stay warm, eat well and remain mobile
  • Providing emergency accommodation/shelter

This list is not exhaustive — other initiatives could also qualify.

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* "median" is the middle value — in this context it approximates to "average"

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