That’s what friends are for! Suffolk’s Surviving Winter Appeal sleeps out! 

Over 100,000 people are now living in fuel poverty in Suffolk so it’s perhaps not surprising that Tim Holder, Suffolk Community Foundation’s Director of Development and Communications and lead on Suffolk’s Surviving Winter Appeal for almost decade, has decided to make a personal stand for the Appeal before standing down from his role at the Foundation at the end of December.  

The Surviving Winter Appeal is a countywide fundraiser created ‘by Suffolk for Suffolk’ to help people to stay warm in their homes during the coldest months of the year and it’s already raised over £1.5M and supported tens of thousands of local people. 

Sleeping out on December 14th, in his local village of Burstall in Suffolk, is Tim’s way of giving his last official push to a great initiative that he has been leading every winter for almost a decade. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Tim wanted to do one last thing for the campaign he has supported for 10 yearsTim wanted to do one last thing for the campaign he has supported for 10 years (Image: Gabby Zins)

Tim said: ‘I was asked what I would like to do to mark the moment and the choice seemed obvious. I’m going to sleep out and raise money and awareness for The Surviving Winter Appeal.

'I absolutely know what a difference it makes and I’m so pleased that my great friend, author and East Anglian Daily Times columnist, Christine Webber has agreed to join me.

'We’re aiming to raise £10K during the night. The average boiler costs £1.68 an hour to run, so that’s quite a few hours of heating for people who need it in Suffolk. Not enough, but we’ll do our best.'  

Christine added: ‘As soon as I heard what Tim was planning, I just wanted to be there.

'He’s so passionate about this and this is just the sort of thing I’d have expected from him.

'He asked for my help to raise awareness of the Appeal several years ago.

'I was glad to help and I’ve been supporting and donating my Winter Fuel Payment ever since. It’s such a simple idea and I think that’s why it works so well.

'Suffolk’s Surviving Winter Appeal ask people to donate their non means tested Winter Fuel Payment if they don’t need it to support somebody else in Suffolk who is struggling to stay warm in their home. Brilliant!’ 

Tim continued: ‘I’m so sad that so many people need support for something as fundamental as staying warm and 1 in 7 of us just can’t afford to do that right now.

'Hope for the future is such an important thing and having someone care enough to help you stay warm brings hope!’   

East Anglian Daily Times: Tim and Christine hope to raise £10,000 to help the Surviving Winter appealTim and Christine hope to raise £10,000 to help the Surviving Winter appeal (Image: Suffolk Community Foundation)

Government statistics suggest that the largest rise in need is amongst working households.  

Said Christine: ‘Parents are now having to make the choice between keeping their children warm or well fed. Imagine what an impossible choice that is for people.

'You need to start the day warm and well to do a day’s work or to learn in the classroom. It’s essential.’  

So will the sleeping out on December 14 be a challenge for Tim and Christine?  

‘Well, neither of us like the cold that’s for sure, but we can both talk for England, we’re great friends and we always laugh a lot when we are together,’ says Tim.

‘I think there may be a few carols in the wee small hours to keep us going.

'I’ve also heard a few whispers that people may stop by and say hello which will be great. That’s what friends are for.  We just hope that Suffolk will give what they can to our sleep out. It will make such a difference and we would both be so grateful. 

To donate to Tim Holder and Christine Webber’s  ‘Sleep Out for Suffolk’ you can make a donation online at, call  the team at Suffolk Community Foundation on 01473 602602 to make a donation by phone. You can also send them a cheque made payable to Suffolk Community Foundation or visit any branch of Suffolk Building Society and make a donation over the counter.