Red Cross help for winter power bills

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 14:23 01/07/2011

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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Vulnerable Christchurch families can now apply for new Red Cross grants to help with winter power bills.

The Red Cross grants are aimed at helping Christchurch families keep warm this winter after challenging conditions in the wake of the February earthquake.

Almost $68 million has been donated to the Red Cross 2011 Earthquake Appeal, with more than $48m already distributed to about 55,500 quake-affected Christchurch residents.

The winter assistance grants can be accessed from today by people with pre-existing medical conditions or families with children aged five to 18. Applications close on July 29.

Red Cross 2011 Earthquake Commission chairman Sir John Hansen said many people had been living in quake-damaged homes and relying on inefficient forms of electrical heating.

"The commission sees helping the vulnerable keep warm in Christchurch this winter as a top priority," he said.

The new grants would help with electricity bills over June, July, August and September, with the Red Cross contributing $100 each month directly to electricity retailers.

Meanwhile, the deadline for existing winter assistance grants has been extended until July 15.

The grants are open to families with children aged under five and those over 65 living in significantly damaged homes.

For more information visit the Red Cross grants website here.

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