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  • Writer's pictureThe British Polio Fellowship

The Fellowship helps polio survivors pay their heating bills

Thanks to the British Polio Fellowship’s Heating Grants, 72 polio survivors from across the UK have been awarded £250 to help cover their increasingly high energy bills.

Heating Grants offered by the British polio Fellowship (BPF), help people affected by Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS) and living in households that are not eligible for the government's Winter Fuel Payment.

One of the many symptoms of PPS is cold temperature intolerance, which is far more severe than the normal feeling of chilliness when outdoors on a cool day. It can result in pain and numbness. By turning up the heating, symptoms can be eased, but the cost of household energy bills rise.

Polio survivors who apply for and qualify for a BPF Heating Grant can use the award to supplement the cost of additional warmth during the winter months.

“People with disabilities, and the elderly, are often more susceptible to health problems in the colder weather, including hypothermia, and it is important to keep a close eye on our physical health during winter. We can all wear the extra layers of clothing and have that extra blanket to hand, but the plain fact is that those who have had polio and are experiencing PPS struggle even more with lower temperatures” explained Sue Brown, BPF Trustee and heating appeal sponsor.

“Many can exercise to keep warm, but polio survivors need to take great care with exercising and be concerned about the level of and appropriateness of the activity, so as not to create further damage. For those unable to generate heat from energetic activity, those confined to a wheelchair or who move around slowly with walking aids, this is not an option. People with Post-Polio Syndrome not only experience the cold more, they also find it takes much longer to regain that lost body heat. Body temperature, usually maintained at around 36/37 degrees C can quickly be reduced by hypothermia, which can rapidly become life threatening.

"Many in the polio community will have cut energy usage in order to keep down costs. The idea of those people suffering cold, possibly skipping hot meals in order to save money, will further impact health problems already experienced" continued Brown.

The Board of Trustees approved a £250 Heating Grant award to each of the 72 eligible applications the BPF received this year. The grants were made from the support and generosity of donors who contributed to this years’ BPF Winter Warmth Appeal.

Over the years BPF has made awards to thousands of polio survivors across the UK. This years’ award payments were received at the end of January.

Applications for Heating Grants are now closed and will reopen in October 2024.

Photo: Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash

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