Surviving Winter campaign hits £10,000 in its first week
Donations to the Surviving Winter campaign have hit £10,000, just a week after this year’s appeal began.
Last year 600 people across Suffolk were helped by the campaign which sees people donate their Winter Fuel Allowance money to help those in greater need.
It’s thought that around 12% of Suffolk’s population, over 43,000 people, currently live in fuel poverty meaning they struggle to keep their homes warm.
That’s the highest of any county in the east of England. In comparison only 6.8% of Essex residents live in fuel poverty.
Nationally cold homes are thought to cause on average 24,940 excess winter deaths each year making it a bigger killer than road traffic accidents, alcohol and drug usage combined.
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Tim Holder from the Suffolk Community Foundation, who are running the Surviving Winter Campaign says more needs to be done to address this situation.
“There are over 25,000 older people living in income deprivation in Suffolk and we also suffer from the highest amounts of fuel poverty in the east of England. It’s just shocking to think that more people die each year from the cold than from traffic incidents, drugs and alcohol abuse combined!
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“Making a donation to our campaign will make a difference and save lives again in Suffolk this year, but we need to do more,’ he added.
For every excess death caused by cold homes there are around seven hospital admissions.
Neill Moloney, managing director of The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust said: “We know that older people often find the cold winter months difficult and we see an increase in the number of people needing urgent and immediate care in our hospital.
“The sooner anyone seeks help when they feel unwell, the stronger the chance of being able to be treated at home and avoid being admitted to hospital.
“This is a very important campaign which we strongly support”.
One of those who was helped by the scheme in the past few years is 70-year-old Brenda Warren.
The grant she received has helped to fund the purchase of gas heating in her home.
“It’s helped me a tremendous lot,” said Brenda, “I can’t get up stairs and move a lot, so extra heating is really helpful.”
She added; “It’s very good for older people.”