Terrified mum already stockpiling blankets ready for colossal winter energy bills

A single mum said she is already planning a trip to buy blankets and hot water bottles as she is terrified of her winter energy bills.

Claire Rickerby, 41, is worried she may no longer be able to afford to heat her house after her bills doubled in recent weeks.

Her gas and electric bills shot up from £100 to £200 per month and she is terrified that they are set to increase again.

Claire, who is unable to work, is one of many who is struggling through financial troubles amid the cost of living crisis with rising prices for essentials such as groceries, bills and petrol.

“It’s hitting everyone hard and I’m just trying hard to cut back on things,” she told Lincolnshire Live.

“It is a worry coming up to October when gas and electric could rise again.

“We will definitely be making a trip to B&M or somewhere like that to stock up on blankets and hot water bottles just in case.”

Claire, from Bourne in Lincolnshire, suffers from type 2 diabetes and epilepsy which means she is unable to work or drive due to having uncontrolled seizures.

She survives solely on Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment.

The financial pressures that she faces have caused her much stress which has made her seizures a lot worse.

“With the cost of living and everything rising I’m finding it really really hard,” she added.

“I’ve recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes as well so paying for food is a lot more expensive.”

Claire tries to set money aside each month so that she can afford shopping for her daughter, 14, and video games for her son, six.

But she has to explain to her children when she cannot afford it.

“It’s not easy and I do feel bad for my children,” Claire said.

“If my daughter goes out shopping with her friends I want her to have some money and not feel left out. I’m just really struggling.

“I’m unable to work anymore so my financial situation isn’t going to improve and I have four different types of seizures.”

The cost of living and inflation are taking a toll on Claire’s health as her triggers are mainly stress related.

“When I’m stressed out, that’s when my seizures get worse, it’s scary times at the minute,” she said.

The mum has had to rely on Fair for You which helps to provide for families in financial trouble.

She has also taken out various loans to replace broken appliances and pieces of furniture in her home which she usually would not have been able to afford.

Claire said: “I’ve had a sofa, fridge freezer, washing machine and tumble dryer through them, they are so convenient.

“I couldn’t afford to replace my fridge freezer when it broke down but I chose one on there which is affordable and I can adjust the payments.

“It’s really saved me some money in the long-term and helped me out massively.”

With the cost of living continuing to rise, many more families will undoubtedly be turning towards lenders for extra support.