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Charity awarded grant to help those most impacted by Covid-related fuel poverty and energy debt

The Zinthiya Trust has seen a 30% increase in people seeking help.

The Zinthiya Trust has received a financial grant from the British Gas Energy Trust to help the charity’s efforts in giving invaluable support to people impacted by fuel poverty and energy debt as a result of the pandemic.

The grant will be used to create the Zinthiya Trust Crisis Support project that will provide direct support with energy and debt issues to service users of local foodbanks, people who have experienced a reduction in their income or lost their job completely and those under threat of eviction.

Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan, CEO of Zinthiya Trust, said: Leicester has been extremely hard hit by the pandemic. Our doors have remained open throughout lockdown and we have seen an increase of over 30% in people seeking help.

"We have heard heartbreaking stories of people unable to feed their family or sitting in the dark in total isolation as they have no money for electricity for lights or to charge their mobile phone. This project will help us to support many of these people who have become excluded and without hope for the future.”

The newly formed Crisis Support service will strive to reach those who struggle to access mainstream services. The service will improve financial resilience in the community by supporting local residents to maximise their income, reduce expenditure and deal with problem debt. Advisors will also help ensure people have warm homes through the provision of energy efficiency advice and practical support, it will enable people to adequately heat their homes and help reduce seasonal illnesses.

Helen Charlton, Chair of British Gas Energy Trust, said: “It’s been crucial to ensure frontline money and energy advice organisations receive additional funding to support their work this autumn, as the longer-term effects of the pandemic, and winter fuel costs, begin to take hold.

"Many vulnerable households are facing a financial precipice, these new grants will ensure additional money and energy advice is available to support individuals and families in some of the worse hit areas.”

The British Gas Energy Trust has provided financial grants to nine regional energy and money consumer advice charities as part of its Covid Response Fund, announced in July 2020.

The Trustees made the decision to create the £800,000 Covid Response Fund, targeted at smaller front line, charitable advice providers, in order to support households in areas of the UK identified by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) as being most impacted by COVID and having the highest levels of unmet resource for providing fuel poverty and energy debt advice to its local communities.

The projects will run from October 2020 until Summer 2021. Grants are awarded immediately to enable all organisations to commence activities.

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