'Don't be afraid to put heating on' - Campaign's message as cold snap bites

The Surviving Winter campaign has raised almost half its target in just three weeks Picture: THINKST

The Surviving Winter campaign aims to offer help to those who can't afford to heat their homes - Credit: Archant

A campaign which has helped heat more than 800 homes in Suffolk this winter says there is still help available as the county is hit by plummeting temperatures and heavy snow.

Surviving Winter, run by the Suffolk Community Foundation and supported by this newspaper, has raised a record breaking £275,000 since late last year, and helped many hundreds of people who struggle to pay heating bills.

But, as the temperatures drop, the organisers are keen to let people know that help is still available. 

Tim Holder, head of public affairs at SCF, said: "Suffolk has been amazing in the way that it has pulled together in so many ways and everyone who has supported this appeal should be so proud that together we have already raised nearly £275,000 and heated over 800 homes.

Age UK Suffolk played a leading role in the Surviving Winter campaign. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Supporters gather for one of the previous Surviving Winter campaign launches - Credit: Archant

"But winter is still very much upon us and there is still so much more we can to do to help people if they can be brave and step forward and ask for that help.

"It's still at least another two months before any of the more vulnerable members of our community will be able to reduce their reliance on central heating. Also we are still at a very crucial stage in our recovery from the pandemic and it is vital that we keep people safe and warm in their homes and continue to relieve pressure on the NHS.

"In previous years the appeal has found that it is at this point in the winter that energy bills start landing on people’s doormats and, with the lockdown meaning that many have spent more time at home with the heating on, fuel bills could cause concern."

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Andrea Pittock, SCF's head of grant programmes, said: ‘’The message for Suffolk it two-fold really - please do not be afraid to put your heating on, it is so important for both your physical and mental wellbeing. Also, if your fuel bill is causing concern, a quick call through to the team at Citizen’s Advice and money could be available to help you with it and there is also expertise within their team to help with energy tariffs and looks at what other hardship support might be available.

"Over 300 people applying for a grant this year have also been referred on for further assistance. This is often help that can really make a longer-term difference to their lives, it can be lifechanging.’’ 

If you would like to have support from the Surviving Winter Appeal, you can contact Citizen’s Advice on 01473 298 634. 

If you would like to make a donation or are in receipt of a non means tested government Winter Fuel Allowance that you don’t need, you can make a donation to the Surviving Winter by calling 01473 602602, making a donation online via www.suffolkcf.org.uk , making a donation at any branch of Ipswich Building Society.  Cheques made payable to Suffolk Community Foundation can also be sent to The Old Barns, Peninsula Business Centre, Wherstead, Ipswich, IP9 2BB.