Suffolk: Surviving Winter organisers ‘overwhelmed’ as donations double in a week to pass £20,000 milestone
- Credit: Archant
Organisers of this year’s Surviving Winter campaign have been left “overwhelmed” after donations almost doubled in a week to pass the £20,000 milestone.
The annual appeal, spearheaded by the Suffolk Community Foundation, Age UK Suffolk and the EADT, has now raised £22,500 in just three weeks to help those suffering from fuel poverty in the county.
The news comes just days after official figures showed deaths linked to cold weather had increased by more than a quarter in the east of England over the past two winters.
There were 3,300 “excess deaths” in the region last winter, up 28% on the 2010/11 figure.
The Surviving Winter campaign asks anyone who feels able to donate all or part of their Winter Fuel Payment so it can be redirected to somebody in need.
Mandy Abdel-Aziz, operations manager at Suffolk Community Foundation, said: “We are overwhelmed by how much the public and the readers of the EADT have donated only three weeks in to this year’s campaign.
“We are really grateful and it means Age UK can distribute much-needed funds to those in need much earlier.
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“The campaign will enable those people that feel the cold to keep warmer and hopefully healthier this winter.
“The more donations we receive, the more people we can help.”
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Age UK Suffolk has distributed £7,250 to 30 different grant recipients so far this winter.
Terry Hunt, editor of the EADT, praised the generosity of this year’s fundraisers and urged people to carry on donating.
“I would like to thank all of our readers and everyone else who has responded to our campaign and dug deep to give so generously to this good cause,” he said.
“Reaching £22,500 in only three weeks is an incredible amount. We are really helping those in need this winter so let’s keep on raising that figure with even more donations.”
The campaign, which comes amid heightened anxiety over the spiralling cost of gas and electricity, is also backed by the East of England Co-operative Society and the Ipswich Building Society.
According to energy comparison website uSwitch annual gas bills in Suffolk have soared by 115% over the past 10 years, from £370 to £799, while electricity bills have risen by 127% from £237 to £540.
A total of 35,426 Suffolk households (11.4%) were classed as living in fuel poverty in 2011, according to the latest Government figures.