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Charity car wash helps remove people from lives of fuel poverty

Buckets of soapy hot water left cars shining as fundraisers worked to help Bognor Regis residents keep warm.


The car washers from the town’s Lions club and Co-operative Funeralcare branches combined to raise some £200.


The money will boost the Lions’ Wencelas Appeal to assist those who face the stark choice between eating and heating this winter.


Lions’ president Richard Johns was one of those who helped to leave about 20 cars looking spick and span last Saturday at the Co-op’s Rose Green premises.


He said: “The most vulnerable people are always on the worst value energy rates. This worsens their situations.


“We have helped people who have only been able to have the light on for an hour a day. Another was a single mother with a young son who had asthma because of the permanently damp conditions they were living in.


“We sometimes only need to give people £50 to get them out of their situation. What we sometimes find is that they get into a small amount of debt.


“The high interest rates multiplies that several times and then they can’t escape from that.”


The assistance is given through a range of trusted agencies who vet the applicants and dispense advice to stop their situation being repeated.


“It’s not just about giving out money. It’s a case of helping people get on to a better life permanently,” said Mr Johns.


Lindsey Booker, a Co-op funeral co-ordinator, was also among the washers of cars like BMWs, Fords and Porsches.


She said: “This is good fun but it is rather hot. But we always enjoy being involved in the community.


“As soon as Richard Johns told us about the Wencelas Appeal, we were keen to get involved. I’ve got a ten-year-old son and I can’t imagine having to live in those circumstances.”


The partnership had seen £1,800 given to the Lions last year, she said. It was hoped £2,000 would be donated in the current year.


“I am sure we will joining with them for a third year. We believe it’s a good partnership and I can’t see any reason why it would not contnue,” she added.

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