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‘Donate your energy rebate’ says Cornwall campaign

21 October 2022


CHURCHES and charities are encouraging residents of Cornwall who do not need the £400 energy rebate that the Government is offering all households to donate it to Poverty Hurts: the Cornwall Community Foundation’s cost-of-living appeal.

Transformation Cornwall, a faith-communities capacity-building organisation with roots in the Church Urban Fund (CUF), has joined with the diocese of Truro, the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Methodist District, and Cornwall Faith Forum to support Donate the Rebate, part of a wider Crowdfunder campaign.

It has been described by the founder and CEO of Crowdfunder, Rob Love, who lives in Cornwall, as “simply about moving money from A to B — to those who need it most”.

The Poverty Hurts appeal estimates that energy bills are likely to reach £2800 this winter, and that this will mean that 9.6 million households in England will fall into fuel stress. Cornwall has 17 council wards among the 20 per cent most deprived in England.

The Bishop of St Germans, the Rt Revd Hugh Nelson, chairs Transformation Cornwall. “Cornwall is perceived as being — and is — a place of beauty, happiness, and leisure, where people go on holiday. But you can’t eat the view,” he said on Tuesday. “Some indices put it as one of the two or three most deprived parts of the country.

“That’s because the cost of living here is relatively high because it’s a holiday destination, and wages are low for the same reason. Work is part-time, seasonal, very often piecework. Transport links aren’t great. The picture people see of the view is true, but it’s not the whole picture.”

Discussions with people involved in projects social-action projects, such as foodbanks, had brought the realisation that, while previous financial crises had hit some people and not others, the present crisis affected everyone, he said.

“This winter is going to be catastrophic for people. If you are a small voluntary organisation with a couple of employees, probably part-time, and you’ve got premises, your energy bills are also going up by whatever percentage it happens to be today, and your costs are going up with inflation.

“So you’re really worried about your own survival, at a time when the people you’re serving need you to be at the absolute top of your game. It affects everyone.”

After the Canon Chancellor of Truro Cathedral, the Revd Alan Bashforth, spoke in a sermon on Sunday of the difficult winter ahead, members of the congregation expressed a desire to redirect their rebate towards those who needed it most. “For many people, the support that’s coming for energy bills is desperately needed and won’t be enough,” Bishop Nelson said.

“Others don’t need the help and will be able to donate their rebate. If we all pull together like this, we can make a real difference and make sure people get the support they need.”

Mr Love said: “We’re thrilled to partner with Transformation Cornwall, and hope that thousands of ordinary people from Scilly to the Tamar will get behind their campaign.”

The initial fund-raising target for Donate the Rebate is £10,000, but there is no minimum donation amount.


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