A YEAR of good sunshine on the Island has enabled Wight Community Energy (WCE) to donate £8,000 to support the Footprint Trust.

The money will be used to assist in tackling fuel and child poverty.

Fuel poverty has sharply risen of late and is now affecting around 8,000 homes on the Isle of Wight, and nearly one-third of Island children are living in poverty.

This is due to the fallout from the Covid pandemic, which led to many people losing their jobs, and having to survive on reduced benefits and help from friends and families.

Poverty was already an issue before Covid, but many people are now in crisis, where before they were just about surviving.

Ray Harrington-Vail, Footprint Trust general manager, said: “Mums are having to make the choice between heating and eating, paying the rent, or buying clothing for their children.

“Last year was the organisation’s busiest period since the formation of the charity some 19 years ago, and this year we have already broken that record with more requests for help and assistance.”

“As a child in 60s London, I visited my friends' homes, many of them had bare boards on the floor covered in cardboard, the only meal they had was their school dinner.

“Today, I come across families in similar circumstances.”

Colin Palmer, Director at WCE, said: “I only wish we could do more.

"Shockingly, the situation is getting worse, not better – that ever more children are having to grow up in cold, damp homes, with their parents worrying about how they will find money to pay the next bill.

“The UK housing stock is amongst the least energy efficient in Europe, yet very little support is available to help households improve their properties.”

Any families struggling with energy or water bills can call the Trust on 01983 822282.