A study of 1,000 adults with a physical disability or a mental health condition found 45 per cent have felt lonely while 50 per cent have felt depressed because of the Coronavirus.

But 67 per cent went as far as to say they felt people with a disability had been forgotten about during the pandemic.

And three quarters (78 per cent) believe those living without a disability don’t understand how difficult it has been for them during the pandemic and lockdown.

The survey examined how the day-to-day tasks many take for granted have caused issues for people with a disability during the Covid crisis.

Almost half have found using public transport a more difficult and stressful experience, while 34 per cent have struggled to attend a non-Covid related medical appointment.

And 14 per cent of respondents were unable to get to the shop to top up their prepay gas or electricity meter.

Paralympian, TV presenter and author Ade Adepitan, MBE, is working with Smart Energy GB, which commissioned the research to highlight the benefits of smart meters to disabled and vulnerable people.

Paralympian, TV presenter and author Ade Adepitan

He said: “Living with a disability or a vulnerable circumstance means daily challenges that many people might not recognise – challenges which have become harder this year.

“I have had a few teammates on my basketball team and the basketball league and training sessions are their only form of social interaction.

“As soon as the lockdown hit, the basketball was cancelled and all training was stopped.

“I was shocked when I spoke to one of the guys on the team and he said he had spent almost eight weeks without speaking to anybody, stuck at home and the only person he spoke to was the cashier at his local supermarket once a week when he went shopping.

“The mental toll that would take on someone is huge and it’s been extremely difficult for everyone during lockdown but it’s been felt even more acutely by people with disabilities.”

The OnePoll research for Smart Energy GB revealed seven in 10 have felt more anxious about trips to the supermarket and other shops than ever before.

And a third of people living with a disability have been unable to buy groceries at some stage during the pandemic – because they couldn’t get to the shops.

Dan Brooke, CEO of Smart Energy GB, added: “Life’s tough for everyone right now and disabled people and vulnerable people are being hit especially hard by the impact of COVID-19.

“It’s imperative that help and support is available to those who need it most, however big or small the challenge.

“Smart meters can help address some of the everyday challenges that disabled people and those living in vulnerable circumstances may face.

“In particular many people have mobility issues, which can make it harder to access their energy meter to take readings. But smart meters remove that barrier by sending readings straight to your supplier automatically.”

For more information visit www.smartenergygb.org