PEOPLE in all sorts of circumstances have been supported by Surviving Winter in the past and this year we need your donations to help save even more lives.

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Why Surviving Winter is so important

Between 2007 and 2010 on average 454 vulnerable people in Suffolk have died each year from causes directly attributable to cold and poor living conditions.

The vast majority of those affected were over 65 years old.

More than 56,000 households in Suffolk live in fuel poverty.

Last year the national Surviving Winter appeal received more than £2.5 million in donations.

In Suffolk a total of £55,000 was raised by the campaign.

Across the county 250 grants were distributed, each totalling about £250.

This is the story of one lady, known as Mrs M, who benefited greatly from the grant she received thanks to last year’s charity push across the county, led by Age UK Suffolk, The Suffolk Foundation and the East Anglian Daily Times.

An Age UK spokesman said: “We were contacted by district council staff to ask if we could assist Mrs M, who is a severely disabled older lady, living independently at home with support from her family and regular visits from care workers.

“Mrs M has a number of gas wall heaters in her property but no central heating. The district council had recommended that an additional wall heater was installed in the hallway, to make her more comfortable, but also to address a problem with damp.

“Mrs M is on a low income and cannot afford the cost herself, so the district council are looking into financial assistance with the cost of the extra heater.

“Age UK Suffolk staff visited Mrs M to confirm her living situation and she provided proof of her income. A Surviving Winter grant was authorised to assist with the cost of buying and installing the additional heater. Age UK Suffolk staff liaised with district council staff throughout this process.

“Due to her difficulty with walking Mrs M rarely leaves the house, so she has benefited greatly from the extra level of heat in the home. She is more comfortable and less worried about the damp in the property.”

And other beneficiaries were also keen to offer their thanks.

“What can I say? Thank you so very very much, which does not seem enough for the huge help money wise for heating you have given me. I admit I did have a few tears after you phoned me to say what you were able to give me. What a worry off my shoulders - I do indeed feel blessed that there are people out there who care and help others, and take a lot of worry away with help and advice. Once again, thank you very sincerely to all who are concerned and God bless you all.” - Mrs D

“Thank you so very much, it is a weight off my mind, especially as I get so breathless through lung problems and am not well at the moment so my usual symptoms are worse” - Mrs W

“Thank you so much for your help. I have ordered oil for my central heating and the money you have granted me means I have peace of mind that I can keep warm.” - Mrs P

“I am writing on behalf of my Dad, thanking you for the Winter Grant of £250. He has been poorly since Christmas and has heat on day and night. He has been indoors for 2 months. May we again thank you for your kindness, which will help to pay the winter fuel bills.” - Miss F

“Very many, many thanks for the cheque from your funds to help with costs of winter. I live in a rented bungalow and I now feel I can be warmer. I really can’t tell you how grateful I am for the help. Please pass my gratitude to all kind people involved and God bless you all.” - Mrs D

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