Record number of older people set to get heating help in Suffolk this winter

With potentially some of the coldest winter weather still to come, people are being urged to step up support for the Surviving Winter campaign as it endeavours to help a record number of older residents in need.

Since the turn of the year, Suffolk Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter fundraising drive – supported by the EADT – has added nearly £10,000 to its total, bringing it to almost £80,000, the record set two years ago and which now looks set to be broken.

The campaign relies wholly on donations, many of which are unwanted Winter Fuel Payments, and the aim is to reach £100,000.

Last year 294 households were helped and Age UK Suffolk has received more than 225 applications from older people in need of extra financial support already this winter.

Emma Rawlingson, grants and donor co-ordinator at Suffolk Community Foundation, said: “We are thankful for the donations we have received and are still receiving donations for the Surviving Winter campaign in the office, but from speaking with some supporters it seems that there is an uncertainty as to whether the campaign is still running.

“This vital campaign is definitely still running and it needs your support now more than ever if it is going to meet the demand it is experiencing from older people in Suffolk who desperately need help with the cost of staying warm during the next couple of cold winter months.”

Broadcaster Christine Webber, who helped launch the campaign in November, said: “I’ve been following the campaign online and it’s been great to see so many people stepping up on Twitter and Facebook to keep the story alive.

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“We need to constantly remind people that traditionally the coldest months are February and March and that they do still need to consider supporting this vital campaign. It would be so fantastic if we could reach our £100,000 target.”

Working in partnership with Age UK Suffolk ensures all the donations received are given straight to the people who need them most.

Sharron Cozens, interim chief Executive at Age UK Suffolk, said: “During the recent cold snap we have heard from recipients about the peace of mind that the Surviving Winter grants have provided; knowing they don’t have to worry about the cost of keeping the heating on.

“We’ve all witnessed the pressures on A&E this winter and with more cold weather on the way, I would encourage older people concerned about their fuel costs to give us a call.

“Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of the people of Suffolk, there are still grants available and we are here to make sure they reach those who need them. To apply for a grant call 01473 359911.”