Support for families of seriously ill children with rising energy bills

As the cold winter months approach, a new partnership will help families in East Sussex, West Sussex and South East Hampshire caring for children with life-limiting and life-threatening illnesses to cope with rising energy bills. Together for Short Lives, the UK’s children’s palliative care charity, and gas network company SGN have teamed up to support vulnerable families with the rising Cost of Living and help keep them safe and warm at home this winter.

Families of children with serious illnesses are disproportionately affected by the rising cost of energy bills as they often rely on energy intensive equipment, such as ventilators, and heating, to keep their child warm, comfortable and alive. 

Concerned families are facing significant debt to keep equipment running and are now confronted with difficult choices between feeding their family or heating their home, let alone being able to celebrate a Christmas together this year that may be their last.


Getting support

Thanks to this new partnership, Together for Short Lives has recruited a new Energy Support Adviser funded by SGN. Families will have access to energy support via the Adviser through Together for Short Lives’ Family Support Hub. The Energy Support Adviser will provide information to families on the grants and benefits available to help them with rising bills and the increasing cost of living.

For eligible families living in the South East, the energy advice service can also provide fuel vouchers to help pay their bills, and ‘heat the person’ items – for example warming blankets.

Children’s hospices within the SGN network, including Chestnut Tree House, will also benefit from training support from the Energy Support Adviser to help hospice staff educate families using the hospice on how to save money on their energy bills.

The partnership officially launches on 2 November, and Together for Short Lives will be using the day to encourage families to sign up to the Priority Services Register. The Priority Services Register helps families caring for a seriously ill child by providing:

  • Advanced notice of scheduled power cuts wherever possible
  • Priority support in the event of a power cut, a gas emergency or a water outage
  • Support with items including heated blankets, heating appliances, hot plates, food vouchers
  • Alternative heating and cooking facilities and alternative accommodation where appropriate

This new partnership will help families who live in East Sussex, West Sussex, and South East Hampshire and are supported by Chestnut Tree House.

Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive at Together for Short Lives said:

“Winter is a very stressful time for families caring for a seriously ill child. Their energy bills are far higher than the average household due to the need to stay warm and power vital life-saving equipment – like a ventilator or respirator.

“We are excited and thankful to be working with SGN to help families with extra support exactly when they need it. We would encourage families to contact our Helpline to see how we can help them – we are just a call away.”

Kerry Potter, Group Social Impact and Vulnerability Manager for SGN said:

“We know this winter is going to be tough for so many people across the UK, and families caring for their unwell children have extra energy costs that can’t be avoided. Our top priority is to keep families safe and warm, making sure people most in need are cared for so we’re delighted to working alongside Together for Short Lives to provide practical help that will make a real difference to families this winter and beyond.” 

Find out more about the energy support available

From December you will be able to call Helpline to book an appointment with our Energy Adviser.

Find out about Energy Support