HEAT OR EAT: How this Burnley plumber is helping struggling people survive the cost of living crisis this winter as energy price cap predicted to soar by 80% from October
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James Anderson, who provides free work for elderly and disabled customers, is helping people to make ends meet as energy bills face an imminent rise.
Pride of Britain winner James (55) runs both an ASDA food shop app and a Cost of Living Campaign on Amazon as part of his not-for-profit scheme DEPHER. The support service funds as many as 50 essential winter items a week through its Amazon wish list and helps feed around 15 British people a day by delivering up to £120 worth of food to their doors.
James said: “Lots of people can’t make ends meet after paying their bills. It’s crazy. We’ve seen single men and women who want to kill themselves because they think ending their life is better than begging or stealing. We need to get rid of that - it’s not the answer. We’ll help them.
“People are sitting there as we speak, scared and alone. They think people don’t care and that they’re not wanted. If they’ve lost family, they don’t know what to do or where to go.
“It’s getting bad here in the Burnley area. We had 31 emails asking for help on Monday and 26 yesterday morning.
“It’s happening in every community and town. We even have MPs coming to us from all over the UK to ask for our help.”
Explaining the impact of poverty on children who are shamed by their classmates for not having basic essentials, he added: “It’s traumatic for kids, too, because of bullying.”
DEPHER has also helped to transform the lives of six homeless people in the past year. One Burnley man has turned his life around and found both a job and a home following an NHS referral to DEPHER, which provided clothes and accommodation in a hotel for two weeks.
James, whose scheme also signposts people to further support services for needs like housing, added: “I’d give my last breath to help someone. If you’ve been pushed into poverty or depression, we’re here to take away that burden.”
When will the next energy price cap be announced and how much are bills likely to increase by?
Bills regulator Ofgem will announce the new rate on Friday. It will run from October 1 to December 31.
Analysts Cornwall Insight expect prices to soar by £1,582, increasing by 80% to £3,553 a year. This is the largest jump to date.
What is the ASDA food shop app?
The app, which was launched in January, allows people to order daily essentials from ASDA if they cannot travel to a food bank or afford membership fees for community grocery hubs.
What is the Amazon wish list?
The wish list was set up last Christmas to provide toys for impoverished children. It now allows people to order essential winter items like warm clothing, cleaning products, and school supplies and uniforms. It also offers solar power charges for mobile phones to help save money on energy bills.
How do people make orders?
Contact James on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01282 420678, explaining what help is required.