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Winter fuel poverty hitting pensioners, warns East End MP Jim Fitzpatrick

PUBLISHED: 11:14 16 January 2014 | UPDATED: 11:14 16 January 2014

Texaco volunteer Rebecca May helping out at Poplar luncheon club

Texaco volunteer Rebecca May helping out at Poplar luncheon club

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An MP has been working with volunteers from Canary Wharf companies to make sure pensioners in the East End are not left alone and in the cold through the winter months.

Winter fuel poverty is making it worse for those alone, Jim Fitzpatrick points out.

His Poplar & Limehouse constituency has above the national average of fuel poverty cases.

So he has been helping the Neighbours in Poplar charity which runs twice-weekly luncheon clubs at St Mathias centre in Poplar High Street for those living alone.

He is regularly joined by staff volunteering from the Texaco petroleum group’s HQ at Canary Wharf.

“The controversy over energy price rises this winter has hit pensioners and other on low fixed earnings,” the MP said.

“Labour proposed a price freeze and the government has at least responded by saving £50 off bills this winter—that’s a gesture in the right direction.

“But it’s still going to be a worry for lots of people living alone.

“The fuel allowance we introduced when we were in government is critically important for many pensioners in winter. It’s freezing out there and it is going to get worse.”

The volunteers from Texaco do 2,000 hours a year volunteering in the East End, including luncheon clubs at St Mathias in Poplar and at St John’s on the Isle of Dogs.

Rebecca May, 39, from the company’s human resources department, said: “These clubs are an opportunity for those living alone to come into the community and meet friends.

“We should all keep an eye on our neighbours, be proactive and perhaps knock on their door and see if we can go shopping for them, or just talk to them. There are some people who feel isolated and just want someone to talk to.”

Rebecca, who checks every week to see if neighbours opposite where she lives need shopping, is one of 17 volunteers from the company who have been out knocking on doors where they know people live alone.

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