Essex: Surviving Winter appeal helps the vulnerable

Food packs being collected by Red Cross for delivery (LtoR – Gary Amer, Steve Mackenzie, Pauline Dod

Food packs being collected by Red Cross for delivery (LtoR Gary Amer, Steve Mackenzie, Pauline Dodd, Adam Hynes and Vanessa Howard with Chelmsford Star Co-ops Surviving Winter food bags which the Red Cross are delivering to 400 homes across Essex). - Credit: Archant

MORE than £30,000 has been raised for a campaign which supports older and vulnerable people across the county during the recent cold snap.

Since the launch of the Surviving Winter appeal in Essex, donations have flooded in and now total £32,906.

Some of the cash has been used to fund and distribute almost 400 warm and food packs across the county, containing blankets, gloves, flasks, hot water bottles and £18 worth of non-perishable goods.

Of the 400, which were put together by staff at the Chelmsford Star, around 150 have been sent to those in need in Tendring, Colchester and Braintree.

The project is being led by Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and the East Anglian Daily Times with the help of the East of England Co-operative Society.

National charities the British Red Cross and Age UK Essex have also been heavily involved on the ground, distributing the packs to make sure the elderly, who may be afraid to go out in icy conditions, have the essentials they need to see them through the worst of the cold weather.

Grants have also been issued to voluntary and charitable groups as part of the campaign.

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Family Support Brightlingsea received £1,000 to help continue its work providing a one-to-one visiting network and a regular programme of social day care activities for older frail house-bound residents.

The organisation will also open the centre on an additional day to provide a lunch for those it supports and offer them a hot snack to take home when they leave.

Jo Murphy, head of communications at ECF said: “Our thanks go out to everyone who has supported this appeal - the generosity that we have received has been quite amazing.

“Together with Age UK Essex, British Red Cross and Chelmsford Star Co-op we are working hard to ensure that those people who need help, receive it.”

She called on more charities across the county to come forward to apply for grants.

She said: “The support that voluntary and community organisations offer to elderly people is also invaluable during the winter as they enable people to get out and enjoy the company of others, thereby reducing the feelings of isolation and loneliness.

“The importance of this cannot be underestimated so we would urge those organisations that are supporting elderly people, to contact us for a grant to help them increase the support that they give during the winter.”

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