A pilot project that provides gas and electricity vouchers to people using foodbanks is now being expanded.
npower is giving credits worth £30 from this month to the end of October, increasing to £49 from November to end of March – enough for around two weeks’ worth of energy.
The so-called ‘fuel banks’ is being rolled out in 10 new areas, including Brent Foodbank, Birmingham B30 Foodbank, Sheffield S6 Foodbank and Glasgow South East Foodbank.
Launched in April last year with the Trussell Trust, National Energy Action (NEA) and Durham Christian Partnership, they have been running in four areas – Kingston on Thames, Durham, Gloucestershire and the Wirral.
More than 7,000 vouchers are said to have been issued so far.
Jenny Saunders, Chief Executive of NEA said: “The Fuel Bank has made a significant impact in the four pilot areas. The majority of people we spoke to were in a critical situation and had self-disconnected or were close to doing so. The fuel voucher made a real difference to these families.
“We found it not only enabled re-connection to energy supplies or helped avoid self-disconnection, it also helped families with their wider household budget, relieved stress and anxiety and enabled access to the basics of family life that are often and rightly taken for granted by most.”