If you had to choose whether to heat your home or eat, what would you do?
It’s the dilemma thousands of families in Luton are facing this winter, which is why the Discover Islam centre together with Inspire FM has launched a ‘surviving winter’ campaign called Heat Luton.
In the window of the centre in Upper George Street is a display created with the help of students from Luton Sixth Form College which is designed to draw attention to the campaign and start raising awareness of fuel poverty.
Saif Islam from Discover Islam said: “We have found that many people do not know what fuel poverty actually means, so the first part of our campaign is to raise awareness.
“Fuel poverty means having to choose between eating and heating. Especially at this time of year and for families who have children, they will choose to buy more food rather than pay to heat their homes adequately. This can result in families suffering from the winter cold, causing illness and sometimes death. In Luton, 100 people die every year from cold weather related illnesses because of lack of heating due to not being able to pay the fuel bill. We are working to change this.”
Many of the people suffering fuel poverty are elderly, so Discover Islam are working closely with Age Concern Luton and also Luton Borough Council.
Mr Islam said: “Our window display represents those vulnerable elderly people. The imagery is of an older person alone in front of an empty fire- place, wrapped up in clothes trying to keep warm.”
The Heat Luton campaign aims to raise money which will go towards hiring out heaters and giving fuel vouchers to the desperate families so they can heat their homes which will be done in conjunction with Age Concern Luton. So far they have raised £2,000 and their target is £10,000.
The campaign is also promoting a pledge to be presented to energy companies and the government, to show that the people of Luton care about their community and want long term change so people no longer suffer from fuel poverty.
Mr Islam said: “This is a town-wide campaign. We are hoping the whole community will get involved so we can work together and help people who are suffering from fuel poverty in Luton.”
Go online to http://www.discover-islam.co.uk/heatluton/ to find out more.
You can also visit the Discover Islam Public Information Centre, 37c Upper George Street, Luton, from Monday to Saturday 10 am to 5 pm. Alternatively you can phone 01582 452356 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.