Log bank acts as lifeline for Devon people struggling to heat homes

Wendy Robertson has been using the log bank to stay warm Credit: ITV West Country

Volunteers providing free firewood to those in need in East Devon say they've seen a spike in demand as fuel prices have increased.

Axewoods Co-operative receives referrals from places like food banks and community groups and it helps people struggling to keep their homes warm.

A log burner is far from a luxury for Wendy Robertson, it's a lifeline - her way to keep her and her cottage warm through the winter.

Four years ago though she was struggling to pay for the firewood - that's when she turned to the East Devon Log Bank.

Wendy Robertson said she was 'desperate' for help which spurred her on to call Axewoods Credit: ITV West Country

Wendy said: "I wondered if they would help me because I was getting desperate, I rang them up and they said oh yes, we can.

"A group of men turned up with a pile of logs and filled my shed, I didn't know what to say to them and all for free, it was terrific, they kept me warm that winter, they kept me warm for the next two winters and they're still bringing logs to me now and keeping me warm now."

The initiative is run by around 60 volunteers from Axewoods Co-operative, they started supplying free logs to those struggling with fuel poverty five years ago. This year though - they're busier than ever.

Alan Dyer, Axewoods Co-operative said: "We're very much an emergency service, we're not offering free logs to anybody, it's the local networks and some of the agencies that ask us to deliver logs to people that are in serious trouble."

Axewoods' Alan Dyer said: 'We're very much an emergency service, we're not offering free logs to anybody' Credit: ITV West Country

This group manage certain areas of woodland in east Devon for free for landowners, in exchange for the logs - which they then distribute to those in need.

Mr Dyer added: "Devon particularly East Devon has some real red spots for fuel poverty and we thought, people with log burners aren't going to be in fuel poverty, but a bit more research and we found a serious need and very little in the way of infrastructure to supply that need."

The rise in energy costs is having a huge impact on people, including Wendy.

"The oil has gone from £450 a year to £1,500 for the same oil, you can't just find an extra thousand pounds like that so yes, I'm finding I'm putting on my log burner a little bit earlier and thanks to the log men I can," she said.

"When I light the fire, it heats this room and I can open the doors and it warms my bedroom before I go to bed."

These logs not only keep Wendy warm, but they also take some strain off her finances - they're one less thing to worry about.

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