County Durham mother who cares for disabled son says energy bills have more than doubled

  • Video report by Julia Breen

A mother who provides round-the-clock care for her severely disabled son has said her energy bills have more than doubled.

Frances Currington, from Chester-le-Street, has to use specialist equipment for her son Steven, who has cerebral palsy and is paralysed, every day.

Bed sheets also need to be washed every day and a specialist hospital bed also increases their energy costs.

Ms Currington owes her energy company £1,700 and is trying to pay off the bill with a small monthly amount.

She told ITV Tyne Tees: "I'm trying not to worry about the bills because I need this for Steven. I'm adamant that they won't switch us off.

"It's tiring and it's worrying and it just all sometimes gets a bit too much so I just go to bed and just wake up the next day and just carry on."

Frances Currington cares for her son Steven and is paid only £114 per week. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The mother receives £114 a week for the care she provides, and often goes to a carer's cafe run by the charity Gateshead Carers.

It offers a space for adult carers to meet up and take a break from their caring duties.

Keiran Brown, from the charity, told ITV Tyne Tees donations have dropped by almost 70% since 2021.

He said demand for support from the organisation has continued to rise as the cost of living crisis deepens.

Mr Brown said: "It is starting to become that decision of do I want to pay for my food or my gas and my electric? Times are a lot more difficult, we've found, financially for carers."

It comes after a Carer's Week report earlier this year found there are more unpaid carers in the UK than before the pandemic.

An estimated one in five adults are now supporting a relative, friend, or neighbour because of chronic illness, including mental ill health, dementia, disability, or older age.

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