One-off payments for Bay families' fuel bills

Jackie Stockman in a blue top

Cllr Jackie Stockman says the scheme will help up to 600 of Torbay's most in-need families - Credit: Torbay Council

Families in Torbay hit by the Covid-19 pandemic could be in line for help with their fuel bills, thanks to a new partnership between Torbay Council, Citizens Advice and Torbay Community Helpline.

Councillor Jackie Stockman, Cabinet member for adults and public health at Torbay Council, said: “Families in Torbay have been hit hard by the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, whether it’s reduced income from being furloughed or losing work as workplaces close, or needing to spend more on heating, electricity and food with our children home all day.

“Our partnership with Citizens Advice Devon and Torbay Community Helpline means up to 600 of our most in-need families in the Bay will be kept warm during these challenging winter months and I am grateful for the work of our colleagues at Citizens Advice and Torbay Community Helpline to help us achieve this.”

The funds are part of the Covid Winter Grant scheme launched by the Government to help families affected by the pandemic.

The aim of the fund is to give vulnerable households peace of mind over the winter months.

Steve Barriball, chief executive of Citizens Advice Torbay, added: “The aim of this scheme is to provide support to people who may have to scale back on their heating – or even choose between eating and heating.

"If you contact Citizens Advice or the Torbay Community Helpline for help because you are in food or fuel poverty, there are many things we can do to help address the underlying issues.

“We can offer you a benefits check, to see if you might be entitled to additional assistance where your circumstances have changed.

"We can look at any debt issues you may have, and support you in dealing with creditors and other outgoings.

"We can also help you understand your income and outgoings, so you feel more confident in understanding what you can do to keep costs under control.

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"Above all, we will listen to you, and see what we can do to help to move you forward.”

The scheme is designed to provide eligible families with a one-off payment for their energy bills if they are in food or fuel need.

This can be in the form of vouchers for pre-payment meters, or online payment towards a smart meter or online energy account.