People donate £400 energy support cheques to food bank - 'It's incredible'

EMBARGOED TO 0001 THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 1 File photo dated of a 19/11/14 of an elderly lady with her electric fire on at home in Liverpool. A
The average energy bill has been capped at £2,500 for the next six months. (PA)

A food bank is raising money to help people heat their homes as energy bills continue to rise amid the worsening cost-of-living crisis.

Peeblesshire food bank in Scotland has announced a "Help For Heating Fund" to assist those struggling with keeping their homes warm this winter.

"Four separate people got in touch and said: 'I would like to give you my top-up money',” said Fiona, a member of staff at the food bank, told Yahoo News UK.

“I just thought was incredible, really so generous - so we thought: ‘Well, let's just see if anyone else is up for doing that’.

Read more: Families still trying to save for next generation despite cost of living crisis

“People have given us the full £400, or £10… whatever they can afford.”

She added: "People are taking it into their own hands. On the ground, local level, a wealth redistribution... it's fantastic.”

Households have started receiving a £400 energy rebate towards their bills from October.

The move had been criticised for being poorly targeted, as people with multiple homes will get a rebate per property and extremely wealthy people will still receive the rebate despite not struggling with rising costs.

Peeblesshire Foodbank in Scotland has set up a "Help For Heating Fund" amid rising energy costs. (Facebook/Peeblesshire Foodbank)

In May, Sunak, who is the wealthiest MP in parliament, said he himself would be donating his own rebate to a local charity.

The government has also introduced the Energy Price Guarantee, limiting the price per unit consumers can be charged at a level that means a typical household will pay around £2,500 per year.

However, End Fuel Poverty Coalition still estimates that 7m households across the UK will be in fuel poverty despite the government's intervention, up from an estimated 4.6m last winter.

Watch: Martin Lewis shares three ways to check if energy providers are overcharging you

Read more: Black and Asian families worst affected by cost of living crisis

Fiona says the food bank has seen a rise in people using the service because they have still run out of money for food after paying their energy bills.

“They're paying their bill, but they're not able to feed their families," said Fiona.

She added: "People that are working with mortgages are really the people that are struggling the most with this, and the £400 top up isn't going to help a lot of families [that much]."

Energy bills will be almost double the level last winter (Yahoo News UK/Flourish)
Energy bills will be almost double the level last winter (Yahoo News UK/Flourish)

On Tuesday, the NEA urged the new prime minister to go further on energy bills - as well as guaranteeing energy bill support beyond April when the current £2,500 price cap ends.

The scheme had initially been set to run for a full two years before Liz Truss was forced to u-turn after her mini-budget caused panic in the global markets that UK finances were on an unsustainable path.

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"Rishi Sunak has become prime minister, he must protect the most vulnerable from spiralling energy prices," said NEA.

"There are 6.7 million UK households in Fuel Poverty.

"There'll be many more by April without adequate support for low-income households. His government must act urgently."

According to organisation, around 12,000 people die each year in the UK due to health conditions caused or worsened by having an inadequately heated home.