Staying warm this winter – helping the EIC to help others

Karen Pica Latest IEC Chapter News

As we come into January, with the warmth of the festive season behind us and the coldest winter months ahead, our minds are no doubt turning to our fuel bills. With more of us working from home, and energy price hikes across the board, it’s likely we’ll all be feeling the pinch over the coming months. This winter, the EIC wants to help its industry colleagues stay warm.

25.9% of people now work from home, with electricity consumption in the UK rising by around £70 a month on average. It’s estimated that already 13% of households are living in fuel poverty in England with 25% in Scotland, 12% in Wales and 18% in Northern Ireland. Add skyrocketing energy prices from suppliers and the cost of staying warm can be daunting, especially to those vulnerable or already in financial difficulty.

This was especially true for James, who lived with his mum Kathy and was in the first year of his apprenticeship. Recovering from debilitating chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer, Kathy was a single parent with little financial resource. As a result of her illness and treatment, she’d taken early retirement and received only a small pension. The next five years were crucial to her health outcome.

James was carer to his mum and the main breadwinner in the house. His salary paid household bills and the cost of his apprenticeship equipment. To help with rent and expenses, he worked a night job, but was exhausted. His mental health was deteriorating from lack of sleep and the potential of failing at his apprenticeship. Trying to hold it together for his mum caused James deep anxiety.

Around this time, James contacted the EIC for mental health support. He engaged with his therapist well, and after twelve CBT sessions, he felt better able to cope with supporting his mum. The EIC helped him to apply for the first Apprenticeship Bursary, and he was granted emergency financial support for the broken boiler at home.

Having a long-term health condition, Kathy was particularly vulnerable to the effects of cold weather. Other vulnerable groups include people over the age of 65, children under five, pregnant women, and those with disabilities and mental health conditions.

Can you help someone stay warm this winter?

The Apprenticeship Bursary programme is for instances just like James’s. The EIC wants young apprentices to get the support they need, when they need it. The help James accessed was due to the EIC and the powerLottery. Through that, James got the financial and medical support required to keep his mum warm and get back on his feet. Without powerLottery, EIC wouldn’t be able to support people like James. That’s why you are needed to become a powerLottery player – to help EIC continue supporting its industry members.