Support offered to vulnerable during winter fuel crisis
published on 17 Oct 2022
Southport Salvation Army offers support to vulnerable members of the community during winter fuel crisis
Our corps in Southport is providing energy top ups to vulnerable members of the community in a bid to help people ride out the cost of living storm over the winter months.
With projections showing that it will surpass the support it gave last year which totalled almost 200* people, the corps, located on Shakespeare Street, is using financial donations to the Community Fund to cover the provision.
This year has seen referrals for support come through to The Salvation Army in Southport every month to date in terms of energy support with the month of September 2022 seeing an increase of 57% on the colder months of January and February of the same year^.
Captain Alison Hutchings, church leader of The Salvation Army in Southport said: “We are already seeing an increase on last year of people needing financial support for their energy supplies and the colder months are only really getting started.
“We’re all anticipating a hard winter and sadly everyone’s money and our funds simply aren’t going far enough. People are in terrible situations making unimaginable decisions; do they choose to heat or eat, and sadly we feel this is going to be a reoccurring story.”
Operating on a referral basis, The Salvation Army in Southport will physically top people’s pre-payment cards up to see them through a time of crisis. Captain Hutchings continued: “Donations to enable us to continue providing this service are lower than in previous years which is indicative of the times we are all living in at the moment. Everyone is struggling and disposable income is becoming a thing of the past, but some are struggling more than others.
“Many people amongst us, in our communities, our neighbours, are going through difficult times, and here at The Salvation Army we put our faith into action by providing this service and being a genuine part of the community, helping people in times of need.”
The corps with a range of partner organisations and third party referrals in its energy top up scheme including Citizens Advice, the local council, the foodbank, health visitors and social services.
Captain Hutchings added: “We can’t fix everything, but our hope is that we can make a difference. Handing out top ups isn’t going to help in the long run, and it is important that we also work with clients and partner organisations to get people the help they need, including debt, benefits, employment or budgeting advice.
“We’re seeing more and more people using this service who are working, people who never thought they would be in the position to need this kind of help, they’ve always worked but now they just can’t afford everything anymore and the rise in the cost of fuel has tipped people over the edge.”
*The Salvation Army church in Southport received 196 referrals for fuel and energy support in 2021
^ The Salvation Army church in Southport received 14 referrals in both January and February 2022 for fuel and energy support and in September 2022 it received 22 referrals for the same reason.