Householders in Wetherby area are turning off heating to save money

Householders are turning off the heating as they struggle to meet everyday costs and the numbers of people seeking help is rising in the Wetherby area.

By Janet Harrison
Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 3:09 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st March 2022, 2:56 pm
Boston Spa which is home to a group supporting people living with the rise in cost of living.
Boston Spa which is home to a group supporting people living with the rise in cost of living.

Boston Spa Community and Homeless group coordinators Nichola Noble and Sally Umpleby say they have seen a rise in requests for help.

“I am seeing an increase in foodbank voucher requests as we are a Trussell Trust referral agent,” said Nichola.

“I get requests for help many times, most recently for gas and electric prepayment metre top ups whilst people are waiting for pay day or benefit payments and the cycle continues waiting for their next payment or pay day.

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“Many are not putting their heating on as they cannot afford to.

“One family asked us for just £3 to top up their gas so they could have hot water to bathe the children.

“Another lady we know who lives in a village and her home runs on oil heating, has had her oil increased nearly 75 per cent and cannot afford her next order which is a minimum of 500 litres shooting from £400 to £1300.

“She has turned her heating off and is relying on the immersion heater to heat her water and the coal fire to heat her living room.

“She is desperately trying to constantly top up her electric metre before the increase in April so that she is not charged the increase on what she has put on her account.

“Another young gentleman has literally been living on toast because he can’t afford to pay the bills and cook or eat.

“He has given up his car already, the buses have proved unreliable, making him late for work, so he has bought a bicycle.

“We dropped off some food while he was out as he is very proud.

“We have offered him foodbank vouchers but he has refused them saying there are people more desperate than he is who need it more.

“So many of our clients are worried about putting the heating on which is very concerning when they are so vulnerable and refuse to turn it on and need persuading to at least put it on low.

“As for the homeless, they are continually in need and people we help and care for - the people society has forgotten, ignored and invisible.”

Andrew Marshall of Wetherby Methodist Church said that their efforts for the Ukraine crisis are to the fore but local churches have focused on how they can coordinate help for those struggling with the cost of living.

“We are, of course, aware of the rising costs in fuel, food and the large increases seen in gas and electricity,” said Mr Marshall.

“We are very much involved with the local foodbank through supplies and support, volunteering and acting as referral agencies.

“We are aware that demand is steadily rising and support through extra supplies is being given to the other area foodbanks where the need is greater.

“The Methodist Church is currently arranging webinars to look at how communities are being affected, who is likely to need support and what we as churches can do to be part of positive change and I am sure we will be involved in initiatives to help where we can.”

He added: “Lt Yvonne West, Corps Officer, Wetherby Salvation Army is aware of local needs and keeps us informed through Churches Together in Wetherby and District so we can provide some support.

“I am sure we will become more involved as the cost of living crisis worsens.”