A mum has revealed she has turned to wartime cooking methods to save money amid this month’s cost of living crisis and energy spike.
Jennifer Jones, a disabled activist, said she was already feeling the effects of rising costs on her wallet.
The mother-of-two from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, is behind the Big Power Switch Off which prompted households to switch off all power for 10 minutes on Sunday evening.
Now she wants the Brits to do the same on Saturday April 16 at 7 p.m.
Jennifer spoke to YorkshireLive and said she – and millions like her – are struggling to cope as prices for energy, food and more soar.
The mother has already added many layers of clothing while living in the house, but still struggles with the cost.
She’s even started using a hay box to cook dinner for herself and her kids – a method that was popular during the blitz when fuel was limited and works much like a slow cooker, but without the use of electricity.
Jennifer prepares soups and stews in the hay box, which helps limit the time she spends with her cook.
Haybox cooking requires food to be heated to boiling point in a covered pan, then placed in a hay-lined box and covered with hay.
The hay’s insulation means the heat stays around the pan, allowing it to cook throughout the day just like a slow cooker would.
Jennifer said: “I don’t feel like I’m in one of the richest countries in the world, I don’t know where I am. It’s so hard for everyone. My son is going through a growth spurt.
“My heart sinks because I’m going to have to find him new clothes because he’s growing up.”
The 41-year-old mum-of-two knows how much her gas bill is rising, but is also worried about what she will have to spend on electricity.
She claims to expect the cost to triple, which will hit her pockets hard.
In February, Ofgem announced the 54% increase in the energy price cap, the increase came into effect on 1 April.
The increase saw £693 rise from £1,277 to £1,971 a year for UK customers on default rates paying by direct debit.
Prepaid customers saw an increase of £708, from £1,309 to £2,017.
To combat the rising cost of living, Jennifer, who is part of Disabled People Against Cuts Sheffield (DPAC), organized a protest which took place on April 1 and she said 10,000 people attended.
Jennifer, who was already struggling before this year’s cost spike, said: “I could see [in the media] people are protesting in the streets across cities across the country, but I’m stuck in my house but wanted to be a part of it. I want my voice to be heard.
“I saw Martin Lewis on TV one morning and he said I had nothing left to help, it devastated me. It was like a punch in the stomach, that’s when I knew that we were completely lost and that we had to find a solution quickly.
“It’s not just about heating or eating, it’s a matter of life and death for families like mine.
“If it was just me who was affected by this, I would be ashamed not to leave the house but that’s everyone.”
Jennifer has been diagnosed with long-term chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as ME and fibromyalgia, a condition that causes pain throughout the body, following the trauma of being a victim of domestic violence .
She also looks after her 10-year-old son, who has autism and attends a special school.
Hundreds of thousands of families across the country are believed to have joined Sunday’s Big Power Switch Off.
Jennifer acknowledged that some people, particularly people with disabilities, might not be able to participate in a protest like this if they have vital equipment at home, such as dialysis machines.
She added: ‘What’s amazing about it, whether or not you’ve been part of a political campaign – people from all walks of life, we’ve found a problem, everyone is coming together.
“It worked, it really worked. We start again on April 16 at 7 p.m., we know that Parliament will be back from vacation, we want that to come to their minds. It gave me hope that we can change that.
“I’m disappointed with the people who represent us, who we pay to represent us, but who haven’t done anything about it.”
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Responding to criticism that the Big Power Switch Off doesn’t work, she added, “On the one hand, when you’re not using power, you’re not giving them money.
“The energy company has to estimate usage on a daily or weekly basis, the company then purchases energy to supply to its customers. But to store the energy that is not used, they have to pay to store that energy.
“The more households that participate in the demonstration, the more we touch their pockets. We’re going to keep doing it, we’re going to get bigger and bigger until it changes.