£1.7 million donated to support people with terminal illness facing rising heating bills.
Funding for two energy support officers to join the Marie Curie Information and Support Line.
Bespoke training for Marie Curie staff in the community so they can identify people who need help with energy costs.
Ahead of Fuel Poverty Awareness Day on Friday 2 December 2022, today we're announcing our three-year partnership with end of life charity Marie Curie which will help support terminally ill people in the UK facing rising energy costs.
 A YouGov poll, commissioned by the RCP, found that 75% of people were planning to use less heating this winter. https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/news/over-two-thirds-brits-worry-about-impact-rising-energy-bills-their-ability-stay-warm-and
Rising energy bills have led to over two thirds of Brits (69%) feeling more worried about their ability to stay warm and healthy at home this winter compared to last winter. A YouGov poll*, commissioned by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), found that 75% of people were planning to use less heating this winter. 
Alongside the other UK Gas Distribution Networks (GDNs) (Northern Gas Networks, SGN and Wales & West Utilities), our partnership will provide £1.7 million to enable Marie Curie to recruit two Energy Support Officers to their Information and Support Line. These new roles will provide in-depth information to people on the grants and benefits available to them - helping with rising energy bills, the increasing cost of living, as well as providing general support to families and patients.
Bespoke training will also be provided to Marie Curie staff in the community (Registered Nurses, Healthcare Assistants and Volunteers) so they can identify those struggling to pay their bills, signpost patients to support, and raise awareness of the Priority Services Register.
Helen van Beuren, 75, from Long Eaton, Derbyshire wants her experience to highlight why the new support available is crucial to help people living with terminal illness. Helen was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in March 2014 and given just 6 to 8 months to live. However, she outlived that prognosis, and three years later was also diagnosed with lupus.
“All through the winter months from October to January I only have my heating on two hours a day. It comes on first thing in the morning and then at 5pm in the evening.
It’s important I stay warm because I’ve lost the circulation in my hands and feet since I’ve been diagnosed, and it takes me about half an hour to get warm, if I can get warm at all. I have to put on extra jumpers, or a soft jacket and I’ve got a down-filled, full length dressing gown and sheepskin boots. I also have pocket-sized wheat bags that I heat in the microwave and put in my pockets.
If I get cold, I stay cold all day and I can feel bad for anything up to a week afterwards. When it gets really cold, I have to force myself to get up to feed the dog and the cat, and then I’ll make myself a drink and go back to bed.“
Matt Williams Head of Information & Support at Marie Curie said “Terminally ill people often have energy bills thousands of pounds higher than the average household due to the medical need to stay warm and power medical equipment.
“Nobody should have to worry about keeping warm especially when they are facing the end of their lives, but a recent poll has shown that 80% of callers to our Support Line are concerned about whether they or their loved one will be able to keep their home warm this winter and 61% think they or their loved one would struggle to pay their energy bills.
“Support that already exists for other groups – such as the Winter Fuel Payment for over 65s and the Warm Home Discount for people on a low income – must be extended to dying people.
“Living in a cold home can be damaging to your health and wellbeing, so we’re so grateful to the UK GDNs for working with us as we fear that many thousands of people living with terminal illness will be forced into poverty this winter, and many families may see the death of a terminally ill loved one, before their time.”
Philip Burrows, Cadent’s Head of Customer Vulnerability Social Programme Delivery, said “We know this winter is going to be tough for so many people across our networks given the cost-of-living crisis, and our top priority is making sure our most vulnerable customers are cared for. We’re delighted to be working with Marie Curie to ensure that, wherever home may be, terminally ill people and their loved ones stay safe and warm all year round.”