A MAN who couldn't afford to heat his flat has praised the local Heating Bank for keeping him warm.

Simon Brooks, from Northwich, posted on social media that he had to turn his heating off and couldn’t afford to put it on again until a benefits payment came through 18 days later.

He said: “I had an induction for a job that day but I wouldn’t get paid until the end of the month. Fortunately, a friend saw my post and recommended that I spoke to Citizens Advice Cheshire West. I went straight to their offices and I was given an appointment with someone from their Energy Advice Programme.

“The same day they added £15 in credit to my prepayment meter. It really saved my Christmas and I can’t thank them enough.”

The Heating Bank is an appeal run for people living in Winsford and Northwich by Citizens Advice Cheshire West in partnership with Vale Royal Lions.

The lifeline helps vulnerable residents struggling to heat their homes and cook hot food.

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It is now in it’s fifth year and provides payments towards the energy bills of those who struggle to afford it. As part of the application process clients are offered an Energy Advice assessment.

Liz Dickinson, from Citizens Advice Cheshire West, said: “The scheme was a lifeline to 32 people last year, including 24 families. Like Simon, the most common reason for using the Heating Bank was a delay in receiving benefits payments.

“We wish we could help everyone but we simply don’t have the funds. That’s why we’re urging individuals and businesses to help make sure that nobody has to choose between warmth and hot food during the cold winter months.”

All donations, no matter how big or small, will be much appreciated by the Lions, Citizens Advice and residents who will enjoy a warmer home for the winter than they would have done without it.

To donate visit justgiving.com/campaign/heatingbank or send a cheque made payable to Vale Royal Lions with 'Heating Bank' written on the back to Vale Royal Lions, 10 Blandford Drive, Northwich, CW9 8UD.