An island charity is worried there will be an ’extra burden’ on those struggling this winter after the gas price hike.

Graih, a homelessness charity based in Douglas that provides food and shelter, has spoken out about the impact the 27.5% gas price rise may have on people already struggling.

Michael Manning, a community worker with Graih, said: ’We are really concerned about the additional burden on people who are already struggling. I know people who are really struggling to keep their life going and keep their place heated and are not turning stuff on because they feel as if they can’t cope with the costs and the bills.


’If that’s going to be even more difficult with increased costs then that plunges people into more and more difficulty.

’I think that managing utilities and fuel payments are just one added stress for people we see and add to other problems that are going on, so it’s just an extra burden for people who are already struggling to cope with a lot of other things.

’I am aware that conversations have taken place with Manx Gas and Manx Utilities with some of the sector groups who are dealing with vulnerable people and so I hope there will be some more flexibility in terms of costs for the most vulnerable.’

Mr Manning said the charity’s aim was for the vulnerable to feel they could use their heating.

’Our concern is always for the most vulnerable and I think it’s really important that we make sure the most vulnerable people, who are at the poorest end of our society, don’t feel as if they can’t turn on the heating or can’t turn on the lights,’ he said.

’The basic level of keeping your property heated should be provided for those who are struggling.’

He also stressed the impact it could have on people’s mental health.

’For people who are already struggling in accommodation, it’s not particularly good if they have cold weather and it’s getting wetter.

’It’s not going to be very good for their physical or mental health and that’s very difficult.

’We’re wholly in favour of as many initiatives as possible to help the people on the margin.

’There is a part of me that wonders what this says about us as a society, that people are having to rely on charities and funds like that just to get by through the winter months.’

In spite of this, the charity cannot predict if numbers coming through its doors will increase this winter but it has received many donations in the recent weeks.

Mr Manning added: ’People often think of those who are homeless and struggling with accommodation more over the winter months anyway and we’re extremely grateful we’ve just had a number of donations in from various festivals, local churches and we’re extremely grateful to the Manx public who donate to us.’

Meanwhile, Douglas Coal Fund is looking to help those who qualify for help with fuel vouchers in the winter months.

A spokesperson said: ’As we are a charity with limited funds it will not be possible to increase the value of our vouchers this year to assist with the rise in gas prices.

’We have to anticipate that we may receive more applications than usual this winter and we need to have funds in reserve.

’We are pleased to note that Mr Ashford has announced a £100 increase to the DHSC Winter Heating Bonus which will help a lot of our applicants.

’The cost of all fuel is likely to rise. In the Isle of Man this means a greater proportion of a household’s income, compared to UK, is used just to keep warm and cook food.

’This will affect everyone not just those on benefits and government need to look at the bigger picture.’