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Partnership to support families of seriously ill children with rising energy bills

News and comment
  • A new partnership between Together for Short Lives and gas network company SGN will provide vital support this winter for families.
  • From 2 November 2023 Together for Short Lives will be encouraging families to urgently sign up to the Priority Services Register to ensure they’ll receive additional support during a gas, electricity or water outage.
  • Together for Short Lives’ Energy Adviser will support families from via charity helpline.
  • Help will also be offered to families in the South East in the form of energy support vouchers and special items such as warming blankets to help families through the colder months.

As we enter the cold winter months, a new partnership will help families caring for children with life-limiting and life-threatening illnesses to cope with rising energy bills. Together for Short Lives and gas network company SGN have teamed up to support vulnerable families with the rising Cost of Living and help keep them safe and warm at home this winter.

SGN owns and operates the gas network in Scotland and the south of England, ensuring a safe and reliable gas supply to over 5.9 million customers.

Families of children with serious illnesses are disproportionately affected by the rising cost of energy bills as they often rely on energy intensive equipment, such as ventilators, and heating, to keep their child warm, comfortable and alive.

Concerned families are facing significant debt to keep equipment running and are now confronted with difficult choices between feeding their family or heating their home, let alone being able to celebrate a Christmas together this year that may be their last.

Thanks to this new partnership, Together for Short Lives will shortly introduce a new energy support service through their Family Support Hub. This energy support service will provide information to families on the grants and benefits available to help them cope with the increasing costs of household bills.

For eligible families living in the South East, the energy advice service can also provide fuel vouchers to help pay their bills, and ‘heat the person’ items – for example warming blankets.

Children’s Hospices within the SGN southern network will also benefit from training support from the Energy Support Adviser to help hospice staff educate families using the hospice on how to use their energy more efficiently helping them heat their homes for longer.

The partnership officially launches on 2 November, and Together for Short Lives will be using the day to encourage families to sign up to the Priority Services Register. The Priority Services Register helps families caring for a seriously ill child by providing:

  • Advanced notice on planned work on their electricity, gas or water wherever possible
  • Priority support in the event of unplanned electricity, gas, or water outage
  • Support with items including heated blankets, alternative heating and cooking facilities, food vouchers and alternative accommodation where appropriate.

Families can sign up for the Priority Services Register by visiting here.

This new partnership will help families who live in East Sussex, West Sussex and South-East Hampshire and are supported by Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice.

“Winter is a very stressful time for families caring for a seriously ill child. Their energy bills are far higher than the average household due to the need to stay warm and power vital life-saving equipment – like a ventilator or respirator. “We are excited and thankful to be working with SGN to help families with extra support exactly when they need it. We would encourage families to contact our Helpline to see how we can help them – we are just a call away.”

Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive at Together for Short Lives

"We know this winter is going to be tough for so many people across the UK, and families caring for their unwell children have extra energy costs that can’t be avoided. Our top priority is to keep families safe and warm, making sure people most in need are cared for so we’re delighted to working alongside Together for Short Lives to provide practical help that will make a real difference to families this winter and beyond.”

Kerry Potter, Group Social Impact and Vulnerability Manager for SGN

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