HELP for Heroes is having to support more and more veterans across Lancashire with grants to help pay energy and food bills as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite.
Along with interest rates continuing to rise, the armed forces charity is increasing the funds available – to support immediate needs – and meet the anticipated increase in requests for help.
Nationally, the charity has already paid out grants worth more than £12,500, in the period from April to June, and has helped support almost 100 individuals this year, who would otherwise have struggled to make ends meet. Help for Heroes’ welfare teams have witnessed for themselves the toll this is taking on veterans and their families.
The charity’s average award in the first half of this year was £150, for food only, but the average since then has been £380, which has included an allowance for energy, where there was a clear need.
Veterans or close relatives in urgent need of help with food and energy bills can get support from Help for Heroes at helpforheroes.org.uk/get-help.
Claire Barnes (pictured below), who is head of grants at Help for Heroes, said: “Without doubt, what we are currently seeing is just the tip of the iceberg. Many of our veterans are feeling particularly vulnerable.
“The impact of the changes in the economic climate means they are facing cuts to their benefits, as well as needing more energy to meet their basic needs.
“We are also witnessing an increase in anxiety from veterans and families about how they will make ends meet, in a way that doesn’t compromise their basic quality of life. Those with pre-existing mental health issues may well face more anxiety in just trying to live day to day. Our funds are not endless, but we must work with our veterans and families to do all we can to reduce the anxieties they are experiencing.”