MORE than 1,200 people have already received help to pay for their heating this winter

The npower Fuel Bank, which works alongside Durham’s food bank, gives out pre-payment meters vouchers for gas and electricity.

Lynn Burrows, from east Durham, benefited from the scheme after being diagnosed with cancer in February and undergoing surgery.

She said: “It didn’t leave much time to organise time off work, benefits, care for my kids, and all the rest. By the time I got out of hospital, the benefits still hadn’t come through and we only had child support to rely on. It was an awful few weeks. The food parcels and fuel vouchers were a saving grace. They kept us afloat and sane until the money started coming through and my energy levels picked up.”

In County Durham 30,183 households are living in fuel poverty, spending more than ten per cent of their income on heating.