Hundreds ask for blankets, hot water bottles and flasks as bill soar

Essentials are being delivered regularly to elderly people and families with disabilities in Argyll.

A charity says it has received hundreds of requests for blankets, hot water bottles and flasks.

Responders at Carr Gomm, who work 24/7 in Argyll and Bute, deliver essentials to elderly members of the community and families with disabilities as they struggle to pay for their heating bills.

But the charity fears the numbers who have reached out for help so far is just the tip of the iceberg amid the cost of living crisis.

With the recent cold snap, locals such as Patrick James Kelly have been finding it hard to stay warm.

He’s been given one of the warm boxes to help him cope with the cold and his bills.

“I’m struggling to keep hot and warm,” he said. “Bills have been high, but I’m getting there now because I’ve got a couple of blankets and I like keeping tucked up at night.

“I’m doing everything to keep warm, an extra throw on my bed, thermal jammies. I can’t afford to put the central heating on all the time – it was £300 last time for my electric and my gas – so I’m hoping that goes down a bit.”

Stephanie Graham, Carr Gomm’s Helensburgh acting service manager, said the level of need was unlike anything they’ve experienced before.

She said: “It’s been tough. They’re trying to save any bit of money they can.  

“The older generation don’t want to pay high gas and electricity bills, so they are turning their heating off.

“We provide daily support for anybody, we respond to the alarms, but I do feel with a wee bit more funding.”

The vast majority of the charity’s money comes from councils and the local health board, but with those budgets being squeezed, it’s having a knock-on effect.

Andrew Thomson, senior operations manager at Carr Gomm, said: “Put simply, there’s not enough money in adult social care. It’s not the priority in society that it should be.

“As country, we need to have a conversation about what’s most important.”

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