Project information

Summer Family Support

The Summer period with children at home from school, and the need to prepare for the new school year can severely affect the tight budgets of families dealing with the cruel impact of poverty. Timely practical help and advice can prevent families spiralling into further hardship and debt.

July 2018 - September 2018

Charity information: fuelbanks and families

fuelbanks and families logo
  • Need


    Families with prepayment meters pay a 'poverty premium' with the highest tariffs for their fuel, and increasingly face the choice of 'eat or heat', leading to a lack of resources to enable them to cook food for their children. The high cost of school uniform is a particular concern of many families. Going to school without appropriate shoes, uniform or winter jackets makes children susceptible to low self-esteem, bullying and depression, which can lead to poor school attendance.


    We offer three different avenues of practical help. Families are referred to us through local foodbanks and a network of 220 referral partners.Fuel Support: We offer emergency fuel credit directly onto families' prepayment meters so parents can cook for their children and light their homes. Advice Support: We offer a specialist debt, benefits and housing advice service.
    Family Support: We provide essential items of school uniform, shoes and winter coats.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To take families out of immediate fuel crisis so they can heat their homes and cook hot food.


    » Provide emergency fuel vouchers to restore power and prevent self-disconnection.

    What success will look like

    100 families receive emergency fuel support.

    Aim 2

    Families are better able to understand their position and make more informed decisions


    » Offer a specialist advice and support service around the key areas of benefits, debt and housing.
    » Signpost families to other local support services that can help to meet their identified needs.

    What success will look like

    70% of families with identified advice needs report feeling better able to cope after receiving our service.

    Aim 3

    To support children's education


    » We will provide families in crisis with essential items of school uniform and school shoes.

    What success will look like

    30 families are provided with items of school uniform and/or shoes.

  • Impact


    Families in poverty experience a real improvement in their circumstances.
    We carry out an annual telephone survey of families, success would be 60% or more of families reporting a real improvement.


    Failure to engage families in need. We have a wide network of over 200 community voucher partners including schools and children's centres that identify families in most need and refer them to us for support.


    Donors will receive a monthly email outlining the numbers of families supported, with fuel support, school uniforms and advice, along with case studies and quotations from families supported.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £6,400

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      Amount Heading Description
      £4,000 Family Support Fund Provision of school uniform, school shoes and winter coats
      £2,400 Adviser Provision of debt and welfare benefits advice
  • Background


    We deliver our service in three London borough's Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham and Lambeth. Fuel poverty rates in our boroughs are Wandsworth 10.7%, Lambeth 10.8%, and Hammersmith & Fulham 13.6%. Child poverty rates are Wandsworth 27%, Lambeth 34% and Hammersmith & Fulham 31%. In Wandsworth for example two-thirds of food bank guests reported having been unable to heat their homes or cook during the past year because they hadn't enough money for electricity.


    Our beneficiaries are families with dependent children, who have prepayment meters for gas or electricity are struggling with the effects of poverty and are in immediate fuel crisis, and those who do not have the resources to pay for essential items of school uniform for their children.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are the first and only charity in the UK, independent of the fuel companies that offers fuel credit direct to the prepayment meter of a family in crisis. We currently deliver our service in three London Borough’s, Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Lambeth. Our approach is to work in partnership with existing organisations, and in particular foodbanks, that are rooted in and know their communities. These partnerships allow us to reach those families most in need of support.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Farah Bobdiwallah

    Farah our services support officer, ensures that families receive the support they need, providing fuel vouchers, and sourcing uniform for families

    Mark Pacsoo

    From our advice partner Centre 70, provides specialist professional advice on debt and benefits to address the underlying causes of families crisis.