Winter fuel allowance could be given to food banks, says councillor
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People wanting to help others could donate the money from their winter fuel allowance to the North Norfolk Foodbank's Energybank scheme, a councillor has suggested.
Wendy Fredericks, North Norfolk District Council's portfolio holder for housing and benefits, said doing so could have a huge impact for those who faced having to choose between heating and food this winter.
Ms Fredericks said: "This can help pay for desperately needed heating and light to people across North Norfolk of all ages who will be struggling this winter."
Ms Fredericks said there was thought to be around 5,000 people in north Norfolk living in fuel poverty.
She said: "Many more will be added to this total as we face substantially increased energy bills this winter. The cost of living has sharply risen and energy prices are set to rocket to dizzying heights. There has been no indication of this stopping in the foreseeable future."
Ms Fredericks said the council was in the process of employing an energy officer to help source and access grants to make homes more energy efficient.
The call follows the launch of a There With You This Winter campaign by this newspaper and its sister publications, with the aim of raising awareness of the fuel poverty crisis and offering a helping hand to anyone in need.
Ms Fredericks said local food banks had already seen a "large increase" in the number of food parcels they have been called upon to supply this year.
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She said: "This number is also is due to rise this winter. Several community larders and fridges are receiving fewer donations because supply problems are hitting supermarkets.
"There are baskets in most supermarkets where food donations can be left - these are then taken to hubs were food is distributed to those in need."
*Anyone wishing to made a donation to the North Norfolk Foodbank can do so via its website at www.northnorfolk.foodbank.org - saying it is for Energybank in the message section.
Cheques can be made payable to: North Norfolk Foodbank, with a note to specify that it is for Energybank, posted to: Cromer Methodist Church, West Street, Cromer, NR27 9DT.