A community support lead has expressed her concerns for families in North Wales as potential energy price increases loom.

Lisa Goodier, the North Wales' Lead Manager for operational support and protect across North Wales for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, believes that the increased prices could have a detrimental effect on families in North Wales.

Low-income families could spend on average 18% of their income after housing costs on energy bills after April, according to analysis from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

The JRF released the figures alongside its annual UK Poverty report, which it said shows a “worrying increase” in the number of children living in the deepest poverty.

Lisa said: "We have seen an increased number of residents coming to us for support with fuel/heating and also asking for help to try and get them onto the best tariff across the North as a whole.

"The increase in utility bills will also increase demand for many other services offered by our Community Support Hubs, Third Sector organisations and local councils.

"Many people will have taken out loans or borrowed money to see them through Christmas – to at least give their family and loved ones a nice time after a difficult year. But in January everything starts to bite a bit more and with the impending and significant increases in utilities prices, I am really concerned that not only will be it a choice of ‘heat or eat’ but also, the stress and worry of balancing finances will start to take its toll on the mental and physical health of our residents.

"Increases in utilities bills could also have a significant negative impact on those who are just about keeping their heads above the water too. We have seen demands for food support and help with debt increase significantly. It’s really sad and disappointing that the connection doesn’t seem to be made between increasing the cost of utilities and the subsequent cost of then providing much-needed support to our communities."

The community support hubs aim to provide a more long lasting source of help. The hubs are dotted all over North Wales and provide services such as legal advice, heating support, mental health support and food support.

The hub in Wrexham is based at Plas Madoc Leisure Centre.

In Flintshire, the hub is at Rivertown United Reformed Church in Shotton.

For more information visit: https://bcuhb.nhs.wales/covid-19/community-support-hubs/