A charity is calling on people in Epping Forest who can spare their £400 energy rebate to help struggling families stay warm this winter after launching a new scheme.

The Winter Energy Donation scheme is being set up by Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF) to help vulnerable families in the area.

All UK households will receive a one-off £400 energy grant. This payment is for everyone, whatever their income and need. The £400 grant will be rolled out in six instalments from October 2022, with households seeing £66 knocked off their energy bills in October and November, and £67 a month from December to March 2023.

Thousands of households in Epping Forest live in fuel poverty. VAEF has been operating a Winter Warmth scheme for a number of years, where assistance in keeping warm is given to individuals and families who are vulnerable. This support consists of food boxes, contributions towards fuel, warm clothing and bedding, small heating appliances or essential household items, such as hot water bottles and warm blankets.

Jacqui Foile, from VAEF, said: “Our budget to support these people is small. With the expected price rises we are all experiencing, the vulnerable individuals and families are likely to feel this cost of living crisis the most and our current budget won’t allow us to support everyone.

“Here at VAEF, we are asking for your support to provide as much help to these people as possible. Together we could make a huge difference to the lives of many this winter as, while this energy grant will help ease the strain for a lot of households, it won't cover the full cost of energy price rises for many.”

If you would like to donate to VAEF's Winter Energy Donation Scheme to enhance the Winter Warmth service (which runs from October and March), you can do so by choosing to contribute to the charity's funds which will all be used to support vulnerable individuals and families.

VAEF works with community and statutory organisations across the district. 100 per cent of donations will be used to benefit those most in need. To ensure that VAEF can help those most in need, assistance will be provided only to those who are referred to us by a recognised agency. Self referrals will not be accepted.

Donations from £10, to one instalment of £66 or the full energy grant of £400 would be welcomed. To donate visit https://wonderful.org/fundraisers/NgKwN