Across the Horsham district there are some 4,000 households struggling to keep warm, according to the district council.
And the charity Horsham Matters is working with the council again this year to help local residents in need who are finding it difficult to afford to heat their homes.
Living in a cold home can have serious impacts on health and Horsham Matters and the council want to support as many householders as they can this winter to lower their heating costs, whilst still helping them to keep warm.
The council will work with Horsham Matters to provide Energy Advisors to give advice during home visits to people who are suffering from living in cold homes.
In order to help fund these home visits Horsham Matters are inviting local residents who feel that they don’t need their Winter Fuel Payment to consider donating it to the charity.
The Winter Fuel Payment, which ranges between £100 and £300, is distributed by the Department of Work and Pensions to every person of pensionable age, regardless of income every year.
The charity is hoping that some qualifying residents may feel they would like to donate it to support others in need.
Any donated Winter Fuel Payments will directly fund home visits, between January and March 2018.
Last year donations helped support seven households, the residents of which were all over 70, and who were able to reduce their annual energy bills by an average of £225.
During the visit the Energy Advisors will give advice on reducing energy costs whilst still keeping warm.
This can include learning how to use heating controls and installing some small energy saving devices such as draught proofing.
The advisor will also review their energy tariffs, and ensure residents apply for any grants and heating discounts they may be eligible for. For residents needing further support the energy expert will also provide advice on other agencies such as Horsham District Age UK, West Sussex Fire Service, Horsham Wellbeing and Citizens Advice.
Commenting on the scheme Cabinet Member for Community and Wellbeing Cllr Tricia Youtan said: “Winter is an expensive time of year and the added expense of keeping homes warm is a real concern for many in our district.
“I would urge as many of you as feel able to donate your Winter Fuel Payment in order to support these crucial home visits and help residents to lower their fuel bills and still keep warm.”
If you feel you are in a position to donate your Winter Fuel Payment you are invited to either post your cheque made payable to Horsham Matters at Micah House, Blatchford Road, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5QR or call them on 0300 124 0204 to get their bank account details. Horsham Matters will be glad to receive any donations by Friday December 15 2017.
The Winter Fuel Payment started arriving in the banks accounts of eligible residents during November 2017. Residents who think they should have received the Winter Fuel Payment and haven’t, should contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre on 03459 15 15 15.
Residents on a low income who are concerned about heating bills could also contact their energy company to see if they could claim the Warm Home Discount, which is a credit of £140 on electricity accounts.