28 August 2012
Shocking figures revealed ahead of Stormont Fuel Poverty Summit
Struggling cancer patients in Northern Ireland turned to charity for help paying their heating bills last winter as prices soared.
Macmillan Cancer Support gave out a staggering £750,000 to 2048 cash-strapped cancer patients - up from £560,000 in 2010.
Three quarters of the patient grants (1551) given were to cover heating costs, amounting to a massive £420,000 being handed out by Macmillan to help cancer patients keep warm.
Across the UK Macmillan gave out £10.9m in one-off grants, with £2.5m being used by cancer patients to pay heating bills.
Macmillan revealed the figures ahead of today’s (Monday) Fuel Poverty Coalition event in Stormont which will see experts from across the UK come together to discuss how to tackle fuel poverty.
Fuel costs have increased dramatically in Northern Ireland, with recent figures showing that since 2009 the cost of heating oil has risen by 83%, electricity by 18.6% and gas by 39%.
Heather Monteverde, Macmillan Cancer Support’s general manager for Northern Ireland, said: 'It is absolutely unacceptable that people who are in many instances fighting for their lives, are scared to turn on their heating even during the cold winter months.'
'Without Macmillan grants, many cancer patients in Northern Ireland would have had nowhere to turn when it came to finding money to cover their fuel costs last year - and there are likely many more who didn’t ask us for help.'
'While we are happy we were able to offer a hand, it is shocking that so many cancer patients had to turn to us just to keep warm.'
Today’s fuel poverty summit is being hosted by Social Development Committee Chairperson, Alex Maskey MLA.
Among those expected to attend are MLAs, MPs, local government organisations and charities including Macmillan.
General manager for Macmillan, Heather Monteverde, added: “We welcome the work the Social Development Committee has done so far to tackle fuel poverty and hope this summit is another step towards developing long term solutions to the problem.”
To find out more about the financial help available for people living with cancer visit
or call 0808 808 00 00.
Financial advice is available over the phone or from Macmillan advisors based in hospitals across Northern Ireland.
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Heather Monteverde on 07801 307030.