Plymouth animal rescue centre may have to 'dip into reserves' to meet £15,000 energy bill

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At Gables cat and dog rescue centre, the cost of keeping the animals warm is really stacking up.

Manager Claire Sparkes said: "Winter is always an expensive time of year for us, it will cost us on average £15,000 for the few months of winter, which is a lot of money to raise.

"That's purely down to the increase in the tariffs that we've had over the last year or so, which everyone has been experiencing. But it's really hit us hard.

"We're dipping into our reserve funds, which we don't like to do, because that's all kind of nest egg and backup plan. So we are trying to raise the money to cover the costs so we don't have to then take money from elsewhere that's very much needed."

Gables in Plymouth has seen its energy bill soar over the past year. Credit: ITV News

The chief executive of Age UK in Plymouth has also warned that thousands of over-65s are at risk of becoming unwell as they struggle to afford to put their heating on.

David Wood told ITV West Country the 'cost of living' crisis is affecting the mental and physical health of the charity's clients.

"It's an ongoing situation," he said. "We all use the words, but it's the impact of those words on individuals that's important.

Many elderly people face a choice between heating their homes and buying food, according to the charity. Credit: ITV News

"There are 7.4 million people over the age of 65. A recent survey by Age UK indicated that 45 per cent of them were worried about heating their house this year.

"If we put that into perspective of Plymouth, that's probably over 20,000 people who live alone who worry about heating the house over to talk to about it.

"Therefore they are having to deal with that and their own mental health as well as worrying about heating and eating."