Hastings family ‘too poor to stay warm’

Hayley Brooker with Ava Brooker and Wyatt Pentecost who cannot afford to heat their home SUS-160330-121322001
Hayley Brooker with Ava Brooker and Wyatt Pentecost who cannot afford to heat their home SUS-160330-121322001

A Hastings family is highlighting the struggle they face to keep warm during winter as they cannot afford to heat the whole house.

Hayley Brooker wants the government to do more for families like hers in fuel poverty, 16 years after it promised to eradicate it from Britain.

The Brookers' boiler is very faulty and struggles to keep them warm

The Brookers' boiler is very faulty and struggles to keep them warm

“I’m sticking up for everyone in my situation as there are hundreds and thousands of people who can’t afford to heat their homes,” she said.

“A lot of people I’ve met in passing are in this situation but no one knows how to get themselves out of it.”

Hayley and her family featured on a Panorama episode about fuel poverty on Monday, March 21.

Their Hollington Old Lane home is poorly-insulated, draughty and full of damp which makes Ava, nine, and one-year-old Wyatt sick.

The family spend many winter nights in the same bed and most days just in the living room as it is cheaper to heat one room.

“It’s quite cold but winter is the worst obviously. We basically just stick around in one room with the door shut and put lots of clothes on,” Hayley said.

“My daughter goes to sleep in her onesie which I found out you’re not supposed to do. The baby has to come in to bed with us quite a lot as he won’t go in the cot as it’s too cold.

“We’re lucky we haven’t had snow but it has been that cold that when you put the heating on, it doesn’t heat the house up.”

Hayley works part-time at the university campus and her partner Dan has just started a new job in construction but still struggle to pay the estimated £35-a-week utility bill.

The sudden news the campus may soon be leaving, on top of hearing their landlord is selling the house, has made the past few weeks very stressful.

Hayley got involved in the BBC documentary through social enterprise Energise Sussex Coast who gave her advice on how to keep her home warm.

The organisation is holding workshop at Sussex Coast College Hastings in May to find solutions which can help families like the Brookers get out of fuel poverty.

Founder Richard Watson said Hayley’s bravery inspired them and hoped the experts at the workshop would help her and others.

For more information about the workshop, visit www.energisesussexcoast.co.uk.

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