PENSIONERS in Guernsey who are struggling to pay for fuel during the colder months can now get help from a new fuel poverty fund.
Age Concern Bailiwick of Guernsey is administering the fund, which has been donated by a number of benefactors including Fuel Supplies (C.I.) Ltd and will be used exclusively to help pensioners in the island cover the cost of heating their homes.
‘While Guernsey has a reputation for being a wealthy island, Age Concern Bailiwick of Guernsey is more than aware that there are many pensioners who simply can’t afford to keep their homes as warm as they should be during the winter,’ said chairman Lester Queripel.
‘While the fuel allowance from the States of Guernsey goes some way to covering the extra costs, there are still many people who are confined to one room of their home or who suffer unnecessarily because they don’t have enough money.’
The six month trial, which will run until June to take into account that some bills are received after the cold weather has ended, will see pensioners or someone on their behalf apply for support.
‘The application form isn’t too intrusive but we need to know some basic information such as name and address, have proof of identification and know what sum is required and for what purpose. We will also be asking applicants for their permission to contact Social Security to determine authenticity and also to ensure that pensioners are getting the full support they need,’ said Mr Queripel.
To ensure that the financial support, which will be to a maximum of £100, is used for heating, the funds will be paid directly to the fuel supplier. Pensioners with gas, oil, electricity or coal or log-fired heating will all be allowed to apply for funds.
Of the 2,300 islanders receiving supplementary benefit, 700 are pensioners but Mr Queripel said it wasn’t an exclusive fund.
‘The fund is open to all pensioners, whether they receive supplementary benefit or not or whether they are members of Age Concern Bailiwick of Guernsey or not. Our aim is to help the older generation and ensure they don’t suffer this winter. Whether they need a couple of bags of coal or £100 towards a fuel bill, the fund is there for them and all applications will be treated in confidence,’ said Mr Queripel.
Information about the fund is being sent to doctors’ surgeries, to churches and to voluntary organisations and will also be available at all three of Age Concern Bailiwick of Guernsey’s centres.
Mr Queripel added that if any companies or charitable organisations wanted to contribute to the fuel poverty fund then it would enable them to help more pensioners.
‘We’re very grateful to those who have already contributed but of course, the more money we have, the more people we can help and every penny donated will be used to ensure that Guernsey’s senior citizens don’t feel the cold this winter,’ he said.
Anyone wishing to apply for support from the Fuel Poverty Fund should contact Lester Queripel on 729399 or 07781 400239 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org