A fuel poverty pilot scheme has been launched in a Doncaster constituency where one in 10 households struggle to pay their heating bills.
Fuelling Connections is being launched in the Don Valley area after research found 12,676 households are struggling to pay heating bills.
Hubbub launched the Facebook community to provide expert advice and access to a range of services for people living in the Don Valley area.
Don Valley MP Caroline Flint said: “Fuelling Connections is a ground-breaking initiative. Every week, there are local families struggling to meet their everyday fuel bills.
“And any day now, the weather could take a cold turn. This Facebook community should be a melting pot of great ideas, connections and advice to help cut those bills. I hope many local people will join and share this on Facebook and beyond.”
Glyn Butcher, who has lived in fuel poverty all his life, knows only too well the impact it can have and believes the new scheme could be a lifeline for residents.
He said: “I live alone but care for my partner and mum. I live in a bungalow and it’s freezing, I struggle to keep warm throughout the winter.”
Mr Butcher is helping to spread the word about the new scheme that will provide access to a range of services for those struggling to pay their bills.
If successful the project will be rolled out nationally.
The Facebook page offers tips to save money, including swapping your energy provider, that could save you £180 a year, and look out for suppliers who don’t charge you for going into your emergency allowance.
Kelly Hicks, local coordinator from The Wellness Centre, said: “What’s really important is that it’s run by the people who have to make tough decisions every day.
“When people start talking and sharing tips they realise they’re not on their own”.
Trewin Restorick, founder and CEO of Hubbub, said: “Shockingly, every year 26,000 people die in the UK because they can’t afford to heat their homes.
“Our Fuelling Connections campaign is a pilot project to reach the people who need support most through a platform used by millions.
“Our research showed that the people we want to reach use Facebook more than any other social media, so this is the best place to turn to find support”.
Visit the Fuelling Connections – Doncaster Facebook page for more information and tips on saving money.