Winter appeal raises £250k ahead of 'incredibly difficult festive season'
A campaign to help keep Suffolk's most vulnerable warm during winter after an "terribly tough year" has raised a remarkable record £250,000.
The 2020 Surviving Winter appeal, run by the Suffolk Community Foundation, has become the most successful ever after already reaching its target by Christmas - and doubling the total raised in previous years.
The foundation believes the appeal - supported by this newspaper, BBC Radio Suffolk and other charities - has cemented Suffolk's reputation as "the caring county" and helped to save lives as a result, with 400 grants already handed out to those in need.
Tim Holder, head of public affairs at Suffolk Community Foundation said: "Our ambitions have to remain high for this year’s appeal because we know that the need we are trying to address is rising so fast at moment.
"This has been a terribly tough year for everyone with an incredibly very difficult festive season upon us, but we hope everyone’s hearts will be warmed just a little to know that the place they call home and the people who live here, their own friends, family and neighbours, continue to play their part in supporting those who need help.
"£251,350 is a truly incredible amount of money to have raised so far and we should take time just to reflect on the incredible generosity of many hundreds of Suffolk people who have helped to make this happen by giving an amount that they can afford."
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"Every single penny counts and will make a positive difference to local lives."
Among those to receive the grant this year is Natalie, who said: ‘’Receiving this grant is the difference between falling ill and keeping warm."
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Another recipient, Andrew, said: ‘’I struggled fighting the coronavirus back in April and now my lungs are very weak.
"I am really feeling the cold and its now a must to stay warm. Surviving Winter has helped me to buy logs for my wood burner which has to stay on all the time."
Joan added that: "Your help means I can have my central heating on - it's changed my life," whereas Type 2 diabetes sufferer Tim said the money was "an enormous help keeping me warm".
If you would like to have support from the Surviving Winter Appeal, contact Citizen’s Advice on 01473 298634.
The charity's offices will be closed from December 23 until the new year.