Kids do homework from bed as Kent family 'terrified of putting heating on' amid rising energy bills

Trainee paramedic Nicole Reece is desperately trying to reduce her heating energy bill.

A trainee paramedic from Kent has told ITV News Meridian the impending rise in energy bills could leave her family on the breadline.

Nicole Reece made the decision to retrain as an ambulance worker to help people on the frontline, following the pandemic.

But Nicole, 36, who shares four children with her husband, revealed rising energy costs, mean her family have been forced to give up their car, and cut down on luxuries.

The family has described being 'terrified of putting the heating on', and have now purchased a fireplace just to try and keep costs down.

"At the time when we made the decision for me to go back to education, this wasn't an issue. My husband was able to support us financially, but now that's not the case, Nicole said.

Nicole says her family have already been forced to make changes to their lifestyle to be able to afford to heat their home.

  • Nicole Reece

She added: "We are finding with our eldest two children get home from school and go and do their homework in bed, as that's the warmest place for them."

The new energy price cap coming into effect in April will see families paying almost £700 more per year to power their homes, Ofgem has announced.

It's not only households that are struggling.

Food banks across the south east have described a 'tsunami of new clients' as people struggle to make ends meet.

The New Forest Basics Bank has seen demand increase by 400% since the pandemic

At the New Forest Basics Bank, demand has increased by an enormous 400% since the pandemic began.

The charity are putting the stark rise in demand down to a combination of reasons, including pressures on employment and those struggling accessing universal credit.

Those who run the site say it's a struggle to get the supplies needed for users.

Oliver Stanley is Chairman of the New Forest Basics bank. He said: "No one case is identical to another.

"We are dealing with a myriad of different problems.

"I would love for there to be no demand in an area like the New Forest, and we are only a stepping stone.

"We will never turn anyone away from the food bank, and we will always help people.

"We know for those who come to a food bank - it's a last choice. So our job is to try and provide facilities and opportunities for people to turn their life around and get away from the food bank.

Hilary Tudor, operations manager said, "One of the reasons we are struggling, is because the supermarket supply chain hasn't been able to supply the goods we require.

"The other is because our level of demand is that much higher so it gives us logistical challenges in terms of collection and delivery of food.

  • Hilary Tudor, New Forest Basics Bank

The Government says its expanded Warm Home Discount scheme is rising to £150 from this October.

It's part of a package of measures worth £12 billion designed to help ease the increase in the cost of living.

With almost half of families claiming they already have to choose between eating and the cost of heating, counting the pennies could be more important than ever.

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