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This is an emergency, and we urgently need your help.

For many, winter in Bristol has already been tough and it could be about to get worse with this new extended period of lockdown. With ongoing COVID restrictions meaning extreme financial hardship for many families and individuals, we’re getting reports that some people receiving food donations aren’t even able to afford the energy needed to heat their meals.

No one should be in this situation, and were determined to make sure they get the support they need. We need to raise at least £5,000 this winter, and were asking you, the wonderful people of Bristol to help by donating what you can afford and sharing this crowdfund.

30% of excess winter deaths can be attributed to cold homes. £5000 will provide a £50 fuel voucher to 100 families, enabling them to keep warm, fed and connected.

We need people to have energy to heat and store their food. The safest way to feed people on mass is to provide fresh frozen meals which need to be stored in a freezer and defrosted in the fridge. They then need to be heated either in the microwave or oven. There’ s more to it than just giving someone a meal. Imagine your electric going in the night and the meals you have been given to last a week perish. You have children home from school all day, so then parents have to stay home, so you have to warm your home you’re in the house more, so you’re using more energy. And then with the online learning you have to charge up a laptop that the school may have provided you with but you still then need to keep it charged, to keep the internet going, which is all more energy.

Kirsty Hammond, Heart of BS13

There are people in Bristol right now who are desperate, lets show them their city has not forgotten them.

2020 has seen communities come together as never before to support each other as many have lost their income or had to stay at home because of Covid.

Within days, community hubs were set up to distribute emergency food, with huge numbers of volunteers making donations, cooking, and delivering food to homes. Now that winter is here, people need gas and electricity to keep warm as well as food.

For many people, this winter is going to be one of the hardest they have faced. People who have lost their income may not be able to pay energy bills or keep their meter topped up, which means they can’t:

  • Heat up or cook food
  • Run a freezer or fridge to keep food fresh
  • Stay warm
  • Stay connected – charging their phones and devices
  • Home educate children sent home from school with laptops because of covid

That same generosity which has distributed food is now also needed to help people with energy costs. 

  • £5 would pay for the cost of running someone’s fridge-freezer for 4 months
  • £5 would pay for someone to run the internet and charge a laptop for 8 hours a day for 3 months
  • £5 would pay for someone to run their dehumidifier in their home for an hour each day in January and February  to prevent damp and mould developing during the coldest months
  • £10 would pay for someone to have their electric fire on for an hour each night during January

This is a Robin Hood operation. The crisis has worsened inequalities – people on zero hours contracts may have been tipped over the edge, while some people who could work from home may have saved money by not going out or going on holiday. Its stressful for all of us to be in lockdown, let’s show that were all in it together.

At the end of 2020 Bristol Energy Network met with some of our members and heard about how people are struggling with their fuel bills. This fund is the response we came up with together. 

The funds raised will be distributed through community organisations who have been running emergency food distribution hubs since March, who know their local communities, and can send funds directly to those who need it most. The money raised will go straight to the hands of people struggling to pay their energy bills.

Organisations involved:

  • Ambition Lawrence Weston –  a resident-driven organisation striving to make Lawrence Weston an even better place to live and work
  • Baggator – Easton, Bristol  dedicated to the empowerment of residents in Easton
  • The Lockleaze Neighbourhood Trust – Lockleaze a resident-led organisation that exists to support residents to achieve positive change for themselves
  • Re:work – A social enterprise at the heart of Filwood (or Knowle West as you probably know it) supporting the community with their day to day needs 
  • Bristol Disability Equality Forum – is an organisation of Disabled people who, live, work, or study in the Bristol area of England
  • Heart of BS13 – Hartcliffe & Withywood social enterprise supports a healthy and thriving community
  • CHAS Bristol – City-Wide Housing Advice Service
  • Eastside Community Trust –  Easton & Lawrence Hill
  • ACORN Bristol – Citywide

*Ambition Lawrence Weston has distributed well over 1000 food parcels to vulnerable people during Lockdown, delivered nearly 500 hot/cold meals to families during the summer holidays, taken over 100 families on day trips, supported young people with access to the internet and has distributed nearly £30,000 emergency cash from the government to local families.

*Lockleaze Neighbourhood Partnership has distributed £30,000 emergency fund to support 194 adults and 338 children. This enabled local families to access the internet for education, provide winter clothing, cover bills and rent.

*Heart of BS13 have distributed 20,000 frozen meals to residence of BS13 since the start of the pandemic in March.


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