Richard Farley says Surviving Winter support came as ‘very welcome news’

Richard Farley has been getting help from the Surviving Winter campaign.

Richard Farley has been getting help from the Surviving Winter campaign. - Credit: Gregg Brown

As the Surviving Winter campaign edges nearer to its £100,000 total one man who helped by the scheme says it came “just at the right time”.

The initiative asks people who don’t feel they need their winter fuel allowance to donate it to others who do through Suffolk Community Foundation and Age UK so they can heat their homes without worrying about the cost.

When Richard Farley, aged 63, stopped running The Swan pub in Needham Market after eight years in November he suddenly found himself in a difficult position.

“We came out with absolutely nothing,” Mr Farley said.

“It was just the way the trade went over the last few years and it was very difficult to earn a living.”

After leaving the pub Mr Farley, his wife Susan, aged 56, and his 16-year-old stepson Thomas Lake moved into a flat in the town.

“We wondered what we were going to do when we came out of the pub because it paid all the bills,” Mr Farley added.

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“We had a massive pub and then we moved into a two bedroom flat. It was a big step down for us. It was a step into the unknown.”

At the time Mr Farley was worried about the financial implications of being unemployed for the first time in his life.

But he said the support offered by the Surviving Winter campaign definitely came in handy.

Mr Farley said: “I didn’t know it was available to me. I just went to Age UK to find out what I was entitled to and they put me on to this.

“It was all explained to me, it was very welcome news. It would have been a lot harder for us.”

Now Mr Farley has advised other people needing help with heating bills to apply for the Surviving Winter cash.

“It came just at the right time to help me through a difficult period,” he said.

“A lot of people think it’s just for OAPs but it can help a whole range of people.

“More people need to be aware of what is available. I would definitely recommend it.”

Hannah Bloom, director of fundraising and communications at Age UK Suffolk, said: “The cold weather has seen many older people struggle to heat their homes, resulting in poorer health and an increase in depression.

“Thanks to generosity of people of Suffolk, through Suffolk Community Foundation, we are able to provide grants which will keep older people warm, safe and secure this season.”