A LIFELINE is being offered to people who can’t afford to heat their homes following the huge surge in energy bills.

The Home Energy Support Fund is available to help people who are having difficulty paying for their domestic fuel to feel able to turn their heating on.

Anxious residents have seen their fuel bills rocket by 300 to 400 per cent.

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Some people are too frightened to switch on their radiators and fires as they fear they will not be able to pay the rising cost.

To help the most vulnerable people feel that they can put the heating on, a local fund, the Home Energy Support Fund, is now available.

This money has been made available initially by Cheshire East Council and Wilmslow Town Council, with additional donations from local people through Just Giving: justgiving.com/campaign/CACNHomeEnergySupportFund To qualify people must meet the following criteria.

• Be a resident of Cheshire East • Be unable to pay their domestic fuel bills • Be in short-term hardship causing a suspension of any regular income, eg. loss of employment, delay or suspension of welfare benefit payment, relationship breakdown etc.

• Be able to demonstrate that they have contracted with a utility company for domestic fuel.

• Be prepared to engage with us regarding better value with fuel costs.

The fund provides £98 per household towards heating costs.

The Home Energy Support Fund started in early November and has already helped more than 100 households with the expectation that these will only increase as more people become aware of its existence.

Application is through a referral form only emailed to hesf@citizensadvicecn.org.uk This can be completed by one of an adviser by calling 01625 708608, or by a school, medical practice, charity, foodbank or other professionals supporting the applicant.

Payments are made online to the supplier where possible, or through Clevercards, Paypoint or Post Office vouchers.