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Christian charity launches "fuelbanks"

The energy company Npower has partnered with the Christian foodbank charity along with the Durham Christian Partnership and National Energy Action to start the scheme.

Currently, people are eligible to use foodbanks if a professional such as a GP, Citizens Advice Bureau volunteer, social worker or member of the police deems them to be "in crisis".

In this new project, npower will give these people using foodbanks up to three energy vouchers worth £49 each.

These vouchers can only be used with pre-pay meters, and only for gas and electricity payments. However a recipient doesn't need to be a customer with Npower to use them.

The project has started at 21 foodbanks across Kingston-upon-Thames, Gloucester and County Durham, with a hope of expanding nationally.

Adrian Curtis, Foodbank Network Director, told Premier's News Hour:"What we've seen over the UK over the last few years is a growing number of clients who we're giving emergency food to but they just simply do not have the energy - the money on their pre-paid energy meters - to cook the food we're supplying.

"... [reasons] could be anything ranging from domestic violence through to somebody suddenly losing their job and is waiting for their benefits application to be processed. It could be somebody who's got delayed wages, it could be somebody's in work that's in insecure forms of employment or low pay."

"People who are referred to our foodbanks are in a genuine crisis and our foodbanks are best placed to target those people who literally have no money on their electricity meter or their gas meter in order to cook the food that is supplied.

"It would be great for politicians of all parties and the general public as well to be able to understand more about what it's really like for people who are really struggling to pay bills and put food on the table, so hopefully more policies can be made and we can all try and prevent people from entering into those crises in the first place."

Listen to Adrian Curtis speaking to Premier's Hannah Tooley on the News Hour here:

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