The “Surviving Winter” campaign was officially launched this week by The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation to raise funds to support vulnerable older people during the winter months. Those who are able to are being asked to donate their Winter Fuel Allowance when it arrives this winter or to make a contribution to the campaign to help those at risk.
The Campaign is being launched on the Isle of Wight by former TV presenter Dickie Davies who has pledged his support for the second consecutive year, he said “As the UK gets its first wintry blast this weekend and another energy provider announced last Friday price increases in excess of 10%, now more than ever our elderly will be at risk of death during the winter ahead” he continued “Last year we supported vulnerable people on the Island helping those in need to pay for their fuel bills”, Dickie added “Supporting this appeal is a good turn that will make a difference to older people living in fuel poverty in our local communities.”
Last winter there was an estimated 25,700 preventable winter deaths across England and Wales, and with fuels bills on the rise and an estimated 7 million households now living in fuel poverty it is now more crucial than ever to provide help for vulnerable and older people during the winter months.
Toni Shaw, CEO at HIWCF explained “This is the generation that survived the war, survived rationing in the 50’s and have gone without for their families, and now a combination of poor living conditions, bad diet, and circulatory or respiratory diseases, which are worsened by the cold, makes it difficult for many of them to survive the winter” she continued “Those who can afford to help us support the most vulnerable in our communities, including local businesses, are being asked to contribute” Toni added “All the money raised from the “Surviving Winter” campaign will be used to directly benefit older and vulnerable people living in fuel poverty on the Island. Working in partnership with our local partners on the Island we will ensure the money reaches those who need it most.
The Isle of Wight Footprint Trust were able to help thirteen older people get financial assistance during last winter thanks to the Surviving Winter grant. Those receiving the grants of £125 or £250 used the money to help keep them warm. One person used the money to repair a draughty window, whilst another purchased thermal blinds to lock in the heat into her old house. Others bought themselves an energy efficient fire, or used the money to pay towards fuel bills.
Ray Harrington-Vail of the Footprint Trust said “The Surviving Winter grant is a practical way in which Islanders can help each other. Whilst others talk about helping those in fuel poverty this grant delivers practical action. Those well-off individuals who feel embarrassed about receiving their winter fuel payment can donate it to this fund. I would also urge Island businesses, particular those involved in energy conservation, to match any donation made by employees.” Ray contined “The Footprint Trust offers tailored guidance on saving energy to elderly and vulnerable people – we are delighted to be working with HIWCF.”
HIWCF is encouraging people and businesses across the Island to support this Campaign, – every penny donated will be distributed to support the vulnerable and older people living in our communities.
Winter fuel payments are allocated any time from November onwards, leading up to Christmas 2012. If you would like to find out more about the campaign, view our Surviving Winter video or make a donation please visit www.hantscf.org.uk