Members of the boating community in Wiltshire have been “left to freeze” over winter after being “excluded” from energy support payments.

Many boaters found themselves ineligible for two payments promised to households across the UK which total a £600 discount on energy bills.

Those who do not constantly cruise or have a permanent mooring where Council Tax applies say they’re ineligible for numerous government schemes.

Many paying to moor at Caen Hill Marina, near Devizes, faced a doubling in energy costs but received no support.

Mary, who moors at the marina with her young child, feels boaters have been excluded from help.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Mary with her young daughterMary with her young daughter (Image: Alex Montegriffo)

She said: "I feel like I've begged for it.

“I have filled out every form possible and still I'm being refused because I don't tick the right box.

“People living on boats don't fit in the right category and there's no common sense to say you are still a human and you have still got a family.”

Another boat owner is one of many at the marina now forced to use local foodbanks because of rising costs.

He said: “Lots of people have left the marina because they couldn’t afford to pay the rising costs.

“You can get support from Julian House but it’s hard to ask for help.

“I’m having to use my savings just to live, but savings should be for an emergency, not for food and heating.

“My savings will eventually disappear.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Alex Montegriffo at Caen Hill MarinaAlex Montegriffo at Caen Hill Marina (Image: Newsquest)

A campaign group launched a petition, calling for all people living on inland boats to be granted the payments, and is seeking support via

Alex Montegriffo, a local community organiser, says boaters have been “left to freeze” over winter.

They added: “Some boaters have been driven to the doors of our food bank due to a lack of support.

“We had double the number of referrals for emergency food parcels from boaters in the last seven months, compared to the last financial year.”

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero uses the CRT’s continuous cruisers database to locate recipients of support.

A spokesperson said: “We recognise the cost-of-living challenges families are facing and spent £40 billion paying around half a typical household’s energy bill last winter.

“Those able to demonstrate they were living on boats as their main or sole residence were offered support worth £600 through the Energy Bills Support Schemes and Alternative Fuel Payment Schemes.

“People unable to apply for these schemes may be eligible for other forms of support, such as the cost-of-living payments, depending on their circumstances.”