Raised of £150,000 target
It’s another Winter without you, dear Abi,
The season almost as empty and cold
As the crumbling house we try to survive in
And the fading memories of you we hold.
It’s another Winter without you,
The bitter winds that howl nightly out there
Almost as fierce as the storm in my heart
Your agonising absence
I still struggle to bear
It’s another Winter without you,
The long nights of darkness
that envelop us all
Force me to be mummy, daddy,
provider and protector
With nobody to catch me when I fall
It’s another Winter without you,
The season’s trees shedding leaves
nearly as fast
As the limited means we have to get by
Rising bills mean our finances won’t last
Will it be a Winter without you,
Or can we feed, clothe, and offer respite
To families desperate for a warm touch of solace
Let’s illuminate their lives with much-needed light
As the frost settles on the ground, many of us face a difficult season as we nervously adjust to post-pandemic lives.
The worries are not over, however, and neither is the impact of an unprecedented global health emergency that has left many of our homes struggling with loss and bereavement. As well as the upheaval and disruption of this last year, many HHUGS households will struggle as Winter compounds their existing challenges.
Winter will always hit the most vulnerable hardest.
When women have suddenly become single parents overnight, the impact of a husband in prison runs deep. Burdened by ongoing debts and rising fuel bills, they are forced to make the agonising choice between whether to ‘heat or eat’.
Homes that require repair and are not fuel efficient will mean single-parent households will battle home inadequate, icy and unliveable conditions during these Winter months.
Children already dealing with the ramifications of losing their father now face the challenge of Winter with clothing and outerwear that cannot keep them warm and protected against the elements.
The absence of a father and husband leaves an unimaginable trail of mental, emotional, psychological and financial burdens for everyone in the family. These struggles are only exacerbated by the difficulties of the Winter months.
Britain is only second to Estonia in Europe for the number of people who struggle to pay their energy bills.
Over 2.3 million
Britons are affected by fuel poverty, despite the fact 50% are employed.
are often forced to choose between whether to
‘heat or eat’.
may be forced to skip meals, have inadequate nutrition or study and sleep in uncomfortably cold conditions.
A quarter of families
are forced to wear outdoor clothing, like hats, scarves and coats, inside to stay warm.
36% of the UK's elderly
say they live mainly in one room to save money on heating.
can negatively affect how children perform at school and their emotional wellbeing.
often in need of repair and better insulation, become harsh and difficult places for families to live, particularly those with elderly or very young children.
Millions of UK homes
face a burdensome winter energy bill hike, making the unforeseen financial insecurity that COVID-19 has brought, hit struggling families even harder this year.
Increased need for central heating
impacts HHUGS’ families already struggling with rent, utility bills and make up those suffering from fuel poverty in the UK.
Cost of durable, warmer and weather-proof clothing
is a significant financial burden on mothers. Children vulnerable to bullying (and already suffering from the trauma of separation from their fathers) face peer-group ridicule that can have crippling consequences.
Over 2.8 million
households enter winter with energy debt, with an average increase in debt of 22% from last year.
Half a million
families said that they are likely to take out a loan this winter to cover the costs of heating their home. Many of our families are already grappling under the weight of considerable debts.
The ailing mental health
of those who have witnessed their family member removed from their home is compounded by the isolation of Winter, with adverse weather and long dark evenings making routine errands and visits that much harder.
Children are four times more
at risk of developing multiple mental health problems, when living in fuel poverty. The existing traumas and other mental health conditions (like depression and anxiety) of young and old alike significantly deteriorate during Winter.
These children are twice as likely
to be at risk of bronchitis and asthma, making them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
Existing physical ailments
(particularly of the elderly) are exacerbated by the cold of this season. Serious illnesses are more difficult to treat when Winter impacts your mobility and access to health-care facilities.
How you gave warm HHUGS to families last winter:
Struggling single mum Nadia was able to ensure her young children were given hot, nutritious meals to keep them healthy and ensure normalcy in their family routine.
Aunty Khadijah’s home was no longer stone cold as she was now able to afford to heat her home, and prevent her respiratory conditions from getting worse
Young Yusuf didn’t have to face the chill because the warm coat and waterproof school shoes you provided, protected him- not only from the harsh season, but from the playground bullies too.
Teenage Latifah and her siblings were finally able to visit their father in a prison across the country, with the transport you funded, after dreading another Winter without being able to see him face-to-face.
Sulaiman didn’t have to spend another night in his car, but finally had a roof over his head, as he could rent a small flat and live in a comfortable, dignified and secure home.
“Taking care of the poor in the winter and protecting them from the cold is a great deed.”
[Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali]
Fuel poverty forces many HHUGS families to cut back on heating, even in the height of winter and at the risk of their health. By contributing £30 towards an oil radiator, fan heater or convector, we can help them stave off the winter colds without running up a huge gas bill.
“I have to put the heating on, and the cost is too high so sometimes I turn it off as I know I cannot afford it.”
For the elderly, exposure to the extreme cold in this way, can lead to death. But just £40 can provide a family with winter duvets and blankets to keep them protected from the night’s bitter chill.
“In Winter, they send us vouchers for clothing and send us duvets to keep us warm. Allah knows the difference that HHUGS made to my life.”
Many single mothers, already struggling financially, cannot afford the high cost of travelling to a prison in a remote location. The average distance families have to go for prison visits is an astonishing 120 miles away, made all the harder during short, dark Winter days. In many cases, the added impediment of mobility constraints, make these visits impossible for elderly parents to undertake alone.
“May Allah reward everyone at HHUGS for arranging transport for the prison visit. Alhamdulillah, if it was not for HHUGS and the volunteers who drive us, I wouldn't be able to do this, especially with a new born baby. […] My husband was so excited about seeing our son, it was the first time he’d seen him since he's been born.”
With £80 we can provide clothing vouchers that will allow a single mother to buy her children well-fitting clothing to cover the entire season such as coats, jumpers and other seasonal essentials to keep them warm.
“I have borrowed extra money from someone to help get coats, socks, gloves, hats for my children. I have no money to pay him back.”
This is hardest on the mothers, who are left feeling cut off and abandoned, and the elderly, who have little in the form of company and friendship at the best of times. Come winter, these feelings are exacerbated as it is harder to visit and see others. You can ensure these mothers and elders are given relief, with the sincere and constant comfort of friendship, through coffee mornings and phone support. Somebody to talk to, to seek solace in and to reach out to. Help build a strong network of support by connecting people together during a difficult and isolating season.
“Everyday somebody from HHUGS rings to ask me, ‘how am I? How am I doing today? ‘I can’t go to my family, because they don’t like the Muslim thing my son went into. My mum doesn’t speak to me. Where I need the support, I don’t get it. I don’t, I’m lonely, I always say to my family, if it wasn’t for the Muslim people I wouldn’t be anywhere because I’ve had nothing from the family as such. HHUGS is like a loving mother whose love reaches out to people. HHUGS is my mum, my grandmother and I am truly grateful for them.” - Grace
This is further compounded by the fact that cold housing increases the risk of multiple mental health problems for adolescents, by more than four times (compared to 1 in 20 for those not in fuel poverty). Providing targeted support from professional therapists can unlock the darkness inside that devastates lives.
“Alhamdulillah the therapy and the counselling has provided me a safe space to speak to someone without fear of any judgement, knowing that it’s safe, secure and private. That is the most fulfilling and most comforting thing to have and to know – that whatever you feel and you're struggling with, that there’s someone you can offload to who is a professional that understands. It has changed my life so much and I am grateful that I have that. Alhamdulillah for HHUGS providing me with that safety net.” (Hajar)
More than 4 in 10 families – over 3 million – said that they are likely to cut back their food
expenditure due to heating bills this winter. Vouchers allowing families the independence to
purchase staple food items will bring dignity and relief to families who often struggle in silence.
1 in 5 UK children under the age of 15 suffers from food insecurity - lacking secure access to
sufficient, safe and nutritious food.
Provide at-risk families with voucher to purchase a month of food items that will ensure everybody in the household will have their nutritional needs met in a time where money is tighter than ever.
“The only thing we would worry about is the food, heating and the bills. How do we pay for food on the table or electric or gas? Then you (HHUGS) came to help and Alhamdulillah. We knew that we could go to the store with the voucher card and get food and have food on table every night. We knew at the end of the day Alhamdulilah, Alhamdulillah we won’t starve. JazakAllahu khairan to HHUGS, so we don’t have to go asking for food, asking from door to door asking for £10, £20.“
By contributing £300 towards their gas and electric bill this winter, we can help them get through the cold months without having to cut back on food or other essential needs.
“It’s been cold this winter. I’ve been putting the gas on quite a lot because my door’s still broken; there’s a big, gaping gap, so a lot of draught comes in, so this flat gets really, really cold. Thanks to the vouchers, I was like, ‘oh my God, I can put £20, £30 on the gas!' -so it was helping.“
Facing eviction in these harsh Winter months is a terrifying thing. But with £500 we can help a family pay their rent for the month and ensure they aren’t left to sleep rough this winter.
“They helped me with rent payments, without which we would be homeless. I had so much debt when I contacted HHUGS but they helped me pay off my rent arrears, my water bill and my council tax arrears, which lifted a huge burden off my shoulders.“
Many HHUGS families are struggling under the weight of considerable debts to cover basic living expenses like rent, utility bills, food, clothing costs, legal fees and household maintenance. With rising fuel costs and houses deemed fuel-inefficient, the costs of getting through Winter can fast spiral. 2.8 million households enter winter with energy debt, with an average increase in debt of 22% from last year. With assets confiscated and benefits frozen, HHUGS families can quickly accumulate rent arrears and unpaid bills. With limited financial resources, these become near impossible for them to pay off. Relieve a mother from the crushing weight of debt by lifting the burden from her shoulders this Winter.
“All my life, I’ve been doing business. This was the first time I have dropped so financially low. We just borrowed and borrowed and borrowed, hoping that as soon as everything gets better we will pay. We have a lot of debt on our heads. HHUGS is a gift from God; one minute you weren’t there, and when you came in you made a life and death difference.“
A Winter with your support means we can alleviate the harsh effects of the weather this season. Together, we can help remove the anxiety around Winter for those who cannot afford to protect themselves adequately against it.
Be there for those desperately searching for warmth this Winter.
Sign up to raise £300 to keep a family warm this Winter from the comfort of your home.
Embrace the cold so they won’t have to. Sign up for our Winter Walk.